Beyond Adversity

Enjoying Life After Adversity

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Belling the Cat

2015-0106 Belling the Cat

According to information gathered from several internet sites, Aesop was a storyteller who lived in ancient Greece. His tales often rely on animals and inanimate objects with human characteristics to explain the moral of a story. 

My belief is that survivors and caregivers can learn valuable tips from stories written long ago. For example, in a fable credited to Aesop more than two thousand years ago, the mice held a meeting to decide how to free themselves from their enemy, the cat. At the very least, the mice wished to find some way of knowing when the cat was coming so they might have time to run away. They lived in constant fear of the cat’s claws and rarely left their dens by day or night. Something had to be done!

Many plans were discussed, but none of the plans was thought to be good enough. At last, a very young mouse got up and said: “I have a plan I know will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing, we will know immediately our enemy is approaching.”

The mice were surprised they had not previously considered the simple plan. But in the midst of rejoicing, an old mouse rose and said: “the plan mentioned by the young mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the cat?”

It is one thing to say something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.

The connection between an ancient fable and a modern problem requires nothing more than changing the actors and objective. As such, I can retell the story by replacing mice, cat, and a bell with survivors, community, and a plan.

In the revised story, survivors of medical adversity held a meeting to decide how to free themselves from their enemy, the community that saw them as damaged goods. At the very least, the survivors wished to find opportunities to work or volunteer within the community. Survivors lived in constant fear they would never find work again. Something had to be done!

Many plans were discussed, but none of the plans was thought to be good enough. At last, a fairly recent survivor got up and said: “I have a plan I know will be successful. All we have to do is to increase our chance of employment is to strengthen our skills, apply to several jobs, and interview. When we notice the employment of survivors increasing. we will know the plan worked.

The survivors were surprised they had not previously thought of such a simple plan. But in the midst of rejoicing, a long-time survivor rose and said: “the plan is good. But let me ask one question: Who will provide the necessary skills?”

It is one thing to propose, and another to execute.

Effective planning is possible only after listening, questioning, researching, understanding, and decision making skills are developed and finely tuned. Survivors may need some assistance developing, tuning, and executing the necessary skills. Consider the possibility you may benefit from some training before you apply for any jobs or volunteer positions.

Scott
Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.


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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.