Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No Sweat - 100% Inspiration

Every now and then I hear about somebody undertaking – whether they succeed or not is irrelevant – something which makes my own challenge seem insignificant. Rosie Swale Pope's run around the world, which I mentioned a few months ago, was one such thing.

Less often, I actually meet somebody who has set hirself such a target, or who has achieved it. A few years ago, we met a man, who called himself The Blindstone Cowboy, who was busking outside the library in Takaka. As his name suggests, he is totally blind and yet, in addition to playing the guitar and singing country songs (and this was nowhere near his home in the Buller Gorge so there was obviously a transport achievement in there somewhere as well), he told us of his recent adventure. He had walked the length of New Zealand, on the verges of State Highway One, and other busy roads (something regular readers of this blog will realise I am trying to avoid wherever possible, and I am fully sighted) with only a dog,a packhorse and a guitar for company. He told us there was a book about this, but we have failed to find it.

Last week in Hanmer we met Mark Inglis, whose story is really inspirational. Just one fact will knock your socks off. Mark has stood on the summit of Mount Everest, and yet both his legs are amputated below the knee. The Everest triumph came after he lost his legs as a result of being trapped in bad weather near the summit of Aoraki Mount Cook (nearly 4000 metres) for a week.

Since his double amputation Mark has also:

Been a research scientist
Made medal-winning wines
Won a silver medal cycling at the Sydney Paralympic Games
Stepped onto the summit of Mount Cook again.
Passed his pilot's licence
Become an author and motivational speaker.

He says the key to all his successes is Challenge – always setting yourself new goals.
He also, on the evidence of our limited acquaintance, seems to be a very pleasant person, unlike some others I have met, who, as the result of life “dealing them another blow”, have become very bitter instead of moving on to what can be done.

I show here the cover of one of Mark's books, which are published only in New Zealand. This is a great shame, because his story would be an inspiration to people anywhere. His writing style is informative and humorous. The books should be published in UK, Europe and USA, but they are not, as yet. A saving grace is that they are available on Amazon. Just search under the name Mark Inglis.

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