Against all odds: from brain dead to Bachelor’s degree

This is a real story; this is my husband’s story.

I hope it inspires you.  

The best predictor of success in not intelligence, not emotional intelligence, it is grit. 

9 years ago, my husband had a devastating accident, I will not go into details, enough to say, he has very severe brain injury.

Included in his long list of consequences is short-term amnesia. He often cannot remember what happened just 5 minutes ago.

If you forget something, you would think, I’m getting old and move on, but if he forgot, he would blame the injury and the accident, and would start a spiral of negativity and frustration. Every, single, time. 

A little game

I had to change this negativity spiral and for that I came up with a plan.

Every day, I would walk around the house looking for something, something that I could not find. I would make a big fuss of “where did I put X?”.

I made sure that X just right next to him or he had just seen it. He would always “find” it for me.

I would play this game several times a day. This went on for months. You would think that I was in early stages of Alzheimer’s, but he never noticed a thing.

I was his only reference as to what “normal” memory was. The whole point was that if his memory was better than mine, it was not that bad after all.

And it worked! after a while he started believing that his memory was good, and once you believe you are good at something, you get better at it.

We played memory games and I made sure he did very well, so we kept playing. His memory improved so very much because we kept exercising it. 

Against all odds

Soon after, and with a little push -there’s another story behind that-, he felt confident enough to start studying at university.

There were other 50 students in his class; 50 young, just out of high school, with perfectly healthy brains, students.

My husband was in his forties and with very severe brain injury. What were the odds?

This was a 3-year Bachelors in Economics, with feared subjects like financial mathematics.

How many of the 50 students do you think graduated after the 3 years?

2 – one other student and my husband. This happened only last year, the rest are still studying or simply gave up. 

Perseverance is key

How he achieved that, it’s a whole other story, but his amazing success against all odds, gets to show you:

If you want to achieve something, take one step at a time.

Look at your next step, don’t be discouraged by looking at the whole project but focus only on the next step.

Can you make it? Make those steps as small as you need them to be.

Keep taking those small steps’ one at a time.

When you realize, you’ll be halfway there.

Remember: with perseverance and the right mindset, even the most impossible dreams may come true. 

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