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Day 212: On Learning From Your Illness


Learning From Your Illness

“When you become ill, regard your illness as your teacher, not as something to be hated.”
– George Ivanovich Gurdjieff

Nothing in life is more important than health, but we fail to understand this fact until we become ill and lose what we’ve been taking for granted for so long. At first, you deny it. Then you start wondering, “Why me?” Then you start hating it, and the more that negative emotions breed inside you, the more difficult it is to battle against the illness.

Many illnesses are preventable, or at least you can greatly reduce your risk for them by adopting healthy habits. Other illnesses can fall upon anyone, making your life miserable without it being your fault.

In both cases, setting aside the obvious fact that it would be better not to have it at all, an illness can serve as a teacher. In fact, regarding your illness as a mentor is the only way in which you can effectively cope with it. Denial, hate, regret, or frustration ultimately only work against you.

If you’re currently dealing with an illness, look at it as an opportunity to review your life, your lifestyle choices, and your priorities. Take advantage of the fact that now you understand on a visceral level how important health is and make those healthy changes you’ve been postponing for so long .

Finally, think of the illness as a challenge to overcome, and if it’s chronic and incurable, seek examples from people who live their lives to the fullest despite not being in the best health or physical condition: Nick Vujicic (a motivational speaker who was born without all four limbs), Sean Swarner (the first two-time cancer survivor to climb the seven highest peaks of the seven continents), Randy Pausch (a professor given three months to life who gave an inspiring lecture entitled “The Last Lecture” which went on to become a global phenomenon), or Jessica Cox (the first pilot without arms).


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