Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rules to Live By

This weekend my wife showed me an article in the Chattanooga Sunday paper titled, “Four Rules for Living” by Dr. Nell Mohney. She interviewed a fifty year old woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1999 who had been introduced to her by a friend. Zoe Koplowitz had lived a normal life until she was diagnosed with MS at the age of 25. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, progressive and disabling disease of the central nervous system that eventually leads to paralysis and blindness.

zoe-koplowitz When Dr. Mohney interviewed her, Zoe had just finished her eleventh New York City Marathon, finishing the 26 miles in 30 hours.  Can you imagine … 30 straight hours?  That is amazing.

Ms. Koplowitz went through some of the same shock, why me and denial that most of us do when something like this happens. Over time, however, she accepted her situation and developed four rules to live by. As a result of her marathons, she wrote “Winning Spirit – Life’s Lessons Learned in Last Place.”
Zoe Koplowitz’s Four Rules to Live By:

1. If you don’t like what you see, change the channel. She believes God gives each of us a TV set with 100 channels. Only one channel has static ... reflecting on our disease, problems and difficulties. You can sit in front of the one channel with static, or you can change the channel. (It is your choice and she obviously changed the channel)

2. Have a mission or purpose in life. Zoe’s mission is to help children trapped in inner-city ghettos to develop confidence and self-esteem. She accomplishes this by visiting inner-city schools with other disabled athletes and telling them what it means to win. She also leads Marathon Strides for MS to raise funds for research.

3. Decide to be a winner. You can either pursue your dreams or fall by the wayside. The choice is yours.

4. Live your life with courage, faith and laughter.

Rules Dr. Mohney said that there is no doubt Zoe Koplowitz lives by these rules. After a ten minute conversation with her, you will be motivated to change the channel if you are still on the station with static.

Learning to live with any disease is difficult.  However, we are all born with free-will … the ability to choose how we will respond to adversity and what our purpose in life will be. 

After reading the article I came up with four questions that I need to ask myself regularly.
  • Will I recognize that the only disability in life is a bad attitude?
  • Will I be a beneficial presence in this world? 
  • Will I inspire others by my words and actions? 
  • Will I look for opportunities to help another person or creature today?
The choice is mine to make.

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