Turning Points and the Power of Will: Living Life on Your Terms


Woman hiking

I’ve been reading a book about finding your passion. It’s gotten me thinking about the power of passion and will, what becomes a turning point in someone’s life, and what helps create inspiration in people’s lives.

Turning Point

Alison was a photo-journalist whose passion was to bring to life the struggles of people in third world and developing countries, and to make these struggles known to the wider world so that people and governments would be encouraged to act.

One fateful day she was in a horrible bus accident in Laos that changed her life forever. The bus she was in hit an oncoming truck and she was thrown through the window onto the road. She had glass imbedded in her arm and face, her pelvis, back and coccyx were broken, her diaphragm and spleen were injured, her left lung collapsed and was filled with blood and liquid, and her bowels, heart and intestines were stuffed up near her right shoulder. It took 14 hours for her to get to a hospital that could deal with her injuries properly.

Amazingly, she lived. Little did she know that this was but the beginning of a very long journey to regain her physical and emotional strength.

Alison endured numerous surgeries and setbacks and was told by medical experts she would never work again, that the life she had once known was something she would never partake in again, and she would have to drastically reconsider and readjust to her new normal.

The Power of Will

Refusing to be defined by other people’s pessimism, Alison instead used inspiration from those she respected–the Dalai Lama and the many other people she had met during her work as a photo-journalist. She used her meditation practices to live in the moment (see Breathing Meditation) and to slowly regain her health.

After five years, she hiked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and trekked around Mt. Kailash, a four day thirty-three-mile trek. Her power of will was incredible.

The Power of Choice

During Alison’s trek, she reflected on the opportunity the accident had given her: “When confronted with hardships, we may not be able to be in command of what happens to us in our lives, but we can control our responses to it.” She knew she had the choice to be crushed by this accident, to believe in the narrow boundaries her doctors had defined for her, or to choose to use this accident as an opportunity to grow and more clearly define what was important to her.

How about you?

What gives you inspiration? What helps you to try your best, despite obstacles and setbacks? How has your will served you? How do you respond to hardships that happen in your life? What helps you to carry on despite these setbacks?

I’d love to hear your comments!