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Have you ever noticed that some people’s stories can simultaneously make you feel ashamed and inspired?

You know what I mean don’t you? That story where the person went through something so difficult that it made you think about how small your own difficulties (that you complain about) truly are? So on the one hand you think about how pathetic it is to complain about what you complain about…yet you are incredibly inspired because if this person could overcome this mountain they overcame you know you can overcome your molehill! I’m glad you can relate to this and that it isn’t just me who experiences this.

Having provided the preface let me now introduce you to W. Mitchell. I had the pleasure of listening to this man speak about 14 years ago, and recently I read his story again in a book (imagine that).

Here’s the short version of W. Mitchell’s story

In the early 70’s his motorcycle struck a laundry truck. His gas tank burst and he became engulfed in flames. Most of his body was severely burned, including burning off his fingers and severely disfiguring his face. Over time, and after enduring unimaginable pain and physical suffering, endless rehab and skin-grafts, he got back on his feet. Despite an appearance that initially made others quite uncomfortable, he went on to become a pilot, build a highly successful Metal-casting company, and became Mayor of a town in Colorado….among many other accomplishments. Then, after having succeeded well beyond what most healthy, unhindered, people do, he was in a plane crash that paralyzed him from the waist down. At this point, he was scarred,, burned and paralyzed. Rather than fold up his mental tent, he went on to become a successful public speaker and real estate investor. If you ever get the chance to see him in person, I suggest you do so. He is an inspiration.

Mitchell’s words

“I have no problems. That’s a foolish word. I do have many instances where unusual, challenging circumstances confront me. I am fully responsible for my present situation. Sure, the laundry truck driver was legally liable for the accident-and I’m responsible. I don’t mean I’m guilty, or at fault. I am responsible-able to respond.”

Ashamed and inspired…..as Mitchell is known to say “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”


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