Will It To Happen.
You make it happen. She makes it happen. Tom Brady makes it happen. So much of success in life, relationships, and health is about willing things to happen. So much of failure is avoidable if you do.
Old people often fall and break their bones, especially their hips. The fatality rate for an 80-year-old is over 50% in the first year after a hip fracture. Those who do well, and return to their former lives, seem to share a common theme: They will it to happen. They get up and out of bed. They walk sooner than they are told to. They get to physical therapy. They exercise and eat well. They simply won’t let the setback rule their lives. They feel the pressure that time is short, they have a lot to do, and they want to get on with it. Ask any nurse or doctor to predict which patients will recover well from a hip fracture; it is always the ones who won’t take “no” for an answer.
Pro athletes in high velocity (skiing) and contact sports clearly get injured often. Those with worker’s compensation issues or pro contracts that pay them more to stay out of action take a long time to recover. The Lindsay Vonns of the world have no time for downtime. They re-start their intense training programs, working around their injuries. They teach us surgeons what is possible in healing by accelerating their recovery beyond what we thought was prudent.
Every athlete suffers an injury at some time in their career. The great ones use the injury as an excuse to come back “fitter, faster, and stronger”: our motto at the Clinic. True, they are momentarily depressed that their season is interrupted. But they quickly shift into finding ways to work out like an athlete in training—not like a patient in rehab. They apply creativity to their modified routines and get in touch with their relatively neglected parts (their knee, for example, may be temporarily limited). They start the process of rebuilding themselves on day one after their injury or surgery. They feed on the testosterone, pheromones, and the adrenaline that exercise provides. They will themselves back to exceptional performance.
Diseases afflict us all. Some are not going to be fixable. Some may be chronic, and we must live with them, while others may be fatal in the near term. We all know people who defy the odds and outlive their afflictions. For some, a positive outlook either hides their illness or embraces the process of healing. It seems almost superhuman at times. Yet, the alternative is misery for the patients and for everyone around them. They will us to be upbeat and, by doing so, diminish their own suffering.
Ask yourself which type of person you are. If you are self-driven and get hurt, marshal the resources you need and take advantage of all of them. If you are in need of others to help you get going, don’t be shy. Ask for it. Then, sign a virtual contract with your new team that forces you and them to make every moment count and keep you on the optimal road to recovery. If you have will, use it. If not, cultivate it. But don’t live life after an injury without it.
The question is, why can’t we all always will ourselves to relative health and happiness? The answer is, maybe we can. Sometimes we may just need some help to do so.