(Above: Dinesh (left) and Yabut meeting up over coffee.)
A story of true grit
I’ll try my best not to be too dramatic on a Monday* – but I just really have to share this story. This one really blew me away.
Every day or two, I would receive letters and messages from people sharing their stories of challenges and success. One letter I’d never forget is the story of Dinesh.
Last week, this young man from Kuala Lumpur messaged me on Facebook about a tragic car accident he survived. I didn’t hesitate to meet up with him for coffee on a Sunday. I asked Dinesh’s permission to share his story, and so here it is.
Four years ago, Dinesh was a typical student full of dreams and ambitions. He was about to leave for the United Kingdom to finish his penultimate year in university and was (needless to say) excited to enter a new chapter in his life.
Or, at least he thought he was going to.
Weeks before his flight, Dinesh was driving back home when he met an unfortunate car crash. Humanly speaking, it was quite impossible for him to survive – he had a brain concussion, punctured lungs, fractured ribs, a ruptured spine, and an injured spinal cord.
He went into coma for a week. Could anything else be worse? I bit my lips and squinted my eyes as he recalled the scenes.
But Dinesh survived the accident. He went through a series of invasive operations. While he was a strong man both inside and out, he was unfortunately paralysed. He lost touch with some people along the way. Depression, loneliness, and hopelessness followed.
While his doctors thought he was going to be bedridden for the rest of his life, Dinesh was persistent in believing that he could walk again. “I am a total believer of mind over matter,” he said.
He consistently underwent therapy. Within the next two years, he got out of bed and shocked the doctors when he started moving with a wheelchair.
Years later, Dinesh defied more medical experts when he started walking with just crutches! He even finished a master’s degree after the accident, and is now working in a management and talent consulting company. Take that, world!
“Dinesh, I wish I was a movie producer. I would make a movie out of you! You have no idea how inspiring your story is for everyone facing problems out there!” I told Dinesh during our coffee meeting. I was seriously teary-eyed.
I have never met someone who underwent such tragedy and bounced back in such a short time. And I know this is another cliché to say, but Dinesh reminds me of what I’ve been talking about like an old broken record – grit.
He knew that in order to walk again, he had to work hard every day and develop himself physically and mentally – not for days, nor weeks, nor months, but for years. Years and years and years.
Can you imagine how it feels to know that your journey will take years and years? Personally, I would easily give up because I am an impatient guy. Dinesh, however, remained persistent.
And he still is, because his journey is not yet complete. Thanks to consistent therapy, his target is to walk without crutches within the next two years. From the bottom of my heart, I really wish him the best.
Whenever I have a big problem in life – be it a personal or career-related challenge – Dinesh now easily comes to mind. If he successfully got out of his challenge, I can face life’s harsh challenges too.
And yes, surrounding yourself with the right people also helps (in Dinesh’s case, he mentioned that his father was both his personal coach and inspiration). We need an anchor in our lives no matter how strong we are.
Once in a while, we need to be reminded that no matter how bad our problems are, someone out there is also facing a problem that may even be worse. If Dinesh could rise up to his challenge, I believe I can too.
I hope you get to meet a “Dinesh” in your life who will forever inspire you during your lowest times. We all need one.
Read about Dinesh’s story from his father’s perspective here.
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Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.