Charlie Adams’ Corner: The Positives That Can Come From A Shark Attack

charlie-adams-cornerBy CHARLIE ADAMS

In the How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing seminar I deliver to Michiana organizations, I share various tools on how to stay upbeat in a very negative world. One of the things I do is collect inspirational DVD’s and watch them regularly. I got rid of cable a couple
of years ago and have been so much more positive.

Among the DVD’s I have watched at least 10 times is the movie Soul Surfer. It is about surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her left arm to a shark at age 13 and yet battled back to surf competitively.

The 23-year-old is now engaged to Adam Dirks! Adam is a youth minister who started a faith based organization on the island of Kauai, where Bethany lives. After being introduced by mutual friends, the two went cliff-diving on their first date, and have since enjoyed hiking and playing sports together. He proposed to her in April of this year.

We all face times in life where the future appears daunting. There is a scene in the movie where Bethany, as a young teen, is very down because she doesn’t think boys will like her because she is missing an arm. Her mother, in a scene played by actress Helen Hunt, shows her blond-haired daughter a photo of Venus de Milo and reminds her the image of Aphrodite immortalized in marble was considered the “pinnacle of beauty but she has one arm less than you.”

bethanyKnown for her resilience and strong faith, Hamilton encourages others to not allow suffering or loss to inhibit their lives. She started a non-profit organization called Friends of Bethany to help shark attack survivors and amputees recover from their trauma.

Despite having lost her left arm, Bethany has battled back to be ranked among the top 50 female surfers in the world. So much of her success comes from her positive attitude. Here are some quotes from her that are very inspiring:

“I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” – Bethany said this when she was training to learn how to surf again.

“I wouldn’t change a thing, because then I wouldn’t be here talking to you, I can embrace more people now than I could with two arms.” – Bethany says this at the end of the movie as a swarm of media is around her after a competition. Her story had become international news and thousands of people from around the world wrote to her and were inspired by her comeback. Had she never been attacked by that shark, she wouldn’t have had an impact on 99 percent of those people.

“Life is alot like surfing … When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) – Bethany’s church youth pastor, played by Carrie Underwood in the movie, says this early in the film. God had a huge plan for Bethany’s life and took that attack and turned into something helped so many people.

“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”

The extras on this DVD ‘Soul Surfer’ are powerful when it comes to positive attitude. They are among the best I have ever seen. There are several 30-minute features on Bethany in real life and her comeback.

There is one segment where she is being interviewed on a television show and the host says, “Bethany, if you are able to come back and …” Bethany interrupts him and says, “If? … When!!”

Part of the attitude seminar I deliver focuses on the ‘solution centered attitude’ When Bethany started her comeback as a competitive surfer, it was almost impossible for her to paddle out beyond the waves. Surfers do something called a ‘duck dive’ when paddling out. When waves are coming, they grab their board with both hands and go under the wave. Bethany could not do that until her Dad came up with the solution of a handle in the middle front part of the board. She grabs it and goes under the water.
Judges don’t care what you use to get out to the waves, so that enabled her to overcome her biggest challenge.

About the Author
Charlie Adams is the author of the new book ‘How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!’ The former WSBT-TV sports anchor and positive news reporter delivers seminars to Michiana businesses, educational institutions and churches based on the book. He can be reached at Charlie@StokeTheFireWithin.com.

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