Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Chains of Habit

Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.

So says a favorite author and motivational speaker of mine, John Maxwell. I gotta give the guy credit. In my own life, I find this adds up to 100% of what’s happening to me here and now.

Habits die hard, don’t they? And the further I get down the road with my cochlear implant, the more I realize that the decisions I make right now will define the habits I create for my future. I know this is deep. So crazy deep for what I had originally envisioned as a lighthearted and not-so-deep blog. But if there’s one thing I haven’t been shy about yet, it’s the fine details of living through a deaf life and on through the recovery of a cochlear implant recipient.

Here’s the thing. I totally didn’t see all the psychological effects that this thing would have on me. Somewhere near the six month post activation date, I felt like I was hit by a freight train called Reality. Yeah, I was hit. Reality told me that the chain of habit that held me back, more than anything else, is…

Fear.

One four letter word. Awful, isn’t it?

What I fear most is being unable to hear someone. It’s fear that when someone calls me, I won’t be able to understand them. It’s fear that I won’t hear a passing car when I’m walking with my kids. It’s fear that I won’t understand someone in public and I’ll be humiliated by saying something completely off-topic. It’s Fear. Fear. Fear.

But I have a choice. The truth is that the fear is a product of living hard of hearing and deaf for a great many years. It’s evidence that something traumatic happened to me. The great big thing is that, just as Mr. Maxwell so eloquently spoke, the bigger percentage is in how I react to what happened.

A few months ago my son needed a doctor’s appointment to finish up his required shots for entering kindergarten. I called the office without much thought, and I was smacked in the face with what I felt was failure. For the life of me, I could not understand the office’s receptionist and had to have my husband call them back to schedule the appointment. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’d have my husband and my mom make phone calls for me, and I hardly answered my phone at all in those weeks. I didn’t think I could do it.

It’s so easy to fall back into patterns that are so known to us, and I wonder how often we even realize it. For weeks, I just sat back and accepted that one failure instead of jumping up to fight it. It was one failure. One.

This month I’ve been so busy I’ve hardly had a choice but to answer my phone. I’ve talked to my husband, my mom, three sister-in-laws, and probably several others too. Each phone conversation has been a little step for me, and I’m so crazy glad that I was pretty much forced to receive or make those calls.

The big thing about those calls is that they were to family members. Every one of those family members knows about my CI journey, so it’s easy if I can’t quite catch what they’re saying. They understand.

I made progress. I returned a call to someone that I have never spoken to on the phone. This is seriously the first phone call I’ve made to someone I don’t know since that doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately I got a voicemail. Or would that be fortunate? I was cringing when I made the call, quite literally petrified to even make the call, but the good news is that I did.

I’m telling myself right now that I will call the lady again. Or I will answer the phone if she calls back. It’s terrifying. It is. And I allow myself to think that it’s ok. It’s ok that I’m scared, since most all of us have a little hesitation at the unknown, but it’s really important that regardless of what I feel, I must choose to go forward. It’s a hard road to look past insecurities and take a leap to break those chains of habit, but if I don’t, I will miss out on even greater things with this implant. My cochlear implant can only do as much as I let it.

So for all you recipients out there who I know read this, let this be a lesson for all of us. Don’t let that measly 10% of what happened to us affect the 90% of what we can choose to be.

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