Survivor Stories

7 Habits of Highly Successful Stroke Survivors

Post on 13/10/16

After his stroke, he didn’t let his dreams fade, but turned them into Gold. These are the 7 habits that helped Dr Darren Chua clinch V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. in sports and in life.


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I have been a stroke survivor since 2000. I remember my brain haemorrhage, which occurred when I was 24 years old. It was a life-changing event. Almost instantly, I was reduced from a doctor who had dreams of becoming a topnotch neurosurgeon to someone who could hardly speak (I lost the ability to communicate as a result of my stroke). I also lost my right visual field and was completely paralyzed on the right side of my body. Like many survivors, I asked, “Why must this happen to me?”

In my minibook, The Art of Determination, I share about how I refused to let this incident direct what desires I was able or unable to pursue. I believe as stroke survivors, we are all free to still chase our dreams and, more importantly, continue to expect success to come our way.

My experience with my condition has taught me seven habits that have been pivotal in helping me transform from someone who suffered a major disruption in life, to where I am now: an international inspirational speaker, a mindset leader, an educator, an author and national para-athlete.

Here are my seven habits that I’d like to share with you.

Habit 1: Start the day with VISUALISATION

Because I conduct mindset clinics, talks and workshops on leadership and empowerment, I am aware of the awesome power that comes from visualization. In fact, most elite athletes and peak performers in almost all professional fields use it now.

The reason why it is so effective is because of these reasons:

  1. It activates our subconscious which will generate creative ideas that will achieve our goals.
  2. It builds our internal motivation to take the necessary steps to achieve your goals.
  3. It activates the law of attraction and thereby draws into our life the necessary resources that you need to attain your destiny.
  4. It programmes your brain to a desired mindset needed to achieve our goals.

Habit 2: Live an INSPIRED life

As stroke survivors, we can still expect and demand success in our life. After all, we are not defined merely by our abilities — or lack of. Rather, we are defined by what we do to each other and how we add value to those around us.

Inspiration is the force that drives things not only forward and upwards; it also elevates us to a newer and better place. It creates positivity, possibilities, and fulfils our purpose. Starting today, let us ask this question to ourselves continually, “How can I make the situation better?”

Habit 3: Be COMMITTED to self-respect

When we commit ourselves to have self-respect (and not respect from others), we naturally take pride in what we do and exude an aura of confidence. I believe this is the key commitment we need to have for ourselves. No matter what people may think or feel about the condition and how it has affected us, we must remain steadfast and know that in order to be successful stroke survivors, we must make the commitment to remain at the top of our game in every aspect of life.

Life may have changed. Our road to success may now have a few more detours, but our destination to wherever we want to go can still be reached. We just have to take daily steps to refine what is it that we want to achieve in an effort to be ready for decisions that needs integrity and forethought.

Habit 4: THANKSGIVING

As a stroke survivor myself, I know it is easier to lament about what has been robbed from us. Yet it is more beneficial if we focus on what we still have and to give thanks for them.

I find that such a mindset allows us to have a better perspective over our situation. I find that the more I focus on thanksgiving, I have more courage and determination to carry on with life’s journey. And this is because I realise that giving thanks is the fuel that builds up our hope. And I realise that to be successful stroke survivors, all of us need to be “prisoners of hope”.

Habit 5: ORGANISING our priorities

Time management is crucial in achieving our goals. This is especially true for stroke survivors who aim to still catch their dreams. The key to time management is organising, planning, and prioritizing.

Prioritizing our work helps us to identify what things need to be done first. My pace of work has slowed down significantly after 2000, and it is more necesasry than ever that I make this habit of organizing my priorities in order to remain efficient and productive.

Habit 6: RE-EDUCATION

As stroke survivors, we need to embrace learning. And depending on the extent of neurological damage due to our stroke, a certain degree of re-education is needed.

I have found that with this habit of re-education, the one thing that is necessary is a spirit of humility. As C. S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less”.

It is with this spirit that allowed me to ask for more help, expose myself with new experiences and dare to change certain fixed mindsets that I had.

Habit 7: YOLO

You Only Live Once.

While some may view the above catch-phrase as a reflection of a reckless living among the youth of today, I believe as mature adults who understand the value of life, we can use this manta for living a meaningful life after stroke.

By the grace of God, I am given a second chance in life after my near-fatal stroke attack. And rather than living life being overly cautious, I am determined to live life and experience the possibilities that may come my way.

It is with this spirit that I went into wheelchair table tennis. I was never a sporty person in school. Yet after my stroke, I was determined to push myself and test my limits given my physical limitations. And together with all the other habits listed above, I am privileged to have been able to clinch the gold-medal in the 8th ASEAN Games in 2015.

In conclusion, with these 7 habits of starting the day with Visualization, living an Inspired life, being Committed to self-respect, Thanksgiving, Organising our priorities, Re-education and YOLO; we can be confident of living a meaningful life in V.I.C.T.O.R.Y as successful stroke survivors.

 

Dr Darren Chua is a international speaker who is noted for fascinating insights on empowerment and leadership mindset. Despite his near fatal stroke attack in 2000, he continues to believe he can still add value to those around him and is living out his destiny as an inspirational speaker, mindset leader, educator and author. He helms DC Empowerment – The Mindset Clinic, which uses award-winning solutions and strategies to provide clear directions to achieve success to transform your vision into reality.

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