A few months ago I came across a podcast interview with writer Jon Morrow in which he spoke about an extraordinarily difficult time in his life. After being hit by a car travelling at 80mph, he spent a year in hospital. It was a traumatic enough experience in itself, but all the more difficult to recover from for someone who had been paralysed from the neck down since birth as a result of a neuromuscular disorder (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).
In terrible pain, able to move only his facial muscles, Jon decided he needed to do something to ‘reconstruct’ his reality. He started listening to audiobooks and podcasts for many hours each day – specifically to stories of people who had accomplished incredible things. Here’s what he says about the experience:
“I’d spend more time listening to people who had done incredible things than in my current life where it looked impossible, and it trained my brain to believe that it wasn’t difficult because there were all of these other people who had already done it. I spent so much time listening to it that it became normal… I started to hold myself to their standards rather than the standards a case-worker at Medicaid might hold me to. Their lives became so real to me. I was ‘marinating’ my mind in incredibly inspirational stuff.”
Listening to Jon really made me stop and think about the significance of what we surround ourselves with. The world we’re living in is constantly shaping us: our attitudes, our beliefs, our sense of what is possible.
Each day we are quietly being influenced by the things we choose to spend our time on, the people we choose to spend our time with. Infinitely absorbent. Always learning.
So I’m curious…how do you choose what influences you?