Courageously Play the Hand You Are Dealt

This video is part of an interview with Dr. Ben Carson who is a neurosurgeon and became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33. He became famous for his ground-breaking work separating conjoined twins, and an inspiration for what is possible in life.

He certainly didn’t start out with the specific life circumstances that one would normally expect from one who becomes a brain surgeon. He didn’t have the wealthy family backing or connections. Actually, there were many aspects of life working against him when he was growing up. He came from a broken home amongst poverty and prejudice.

He overcame a lot of adversity and is a great example of someone who rose above his circumstances. He succeeded in spite of the many excuses he could have used to settle for a troubled life.

I would highly recommend reading or seeing the movie, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story about him. He is a great example of making the most of what we are given.

We each come into life with a set of circumstances or cards to play with such as:

  1. The family we are born into
  2. Our particular gender
  3. Our race and socioeconomic class
  4. Certain talents and abilities
  5. Our biology; the body and health we have been given
  6. And many other aspects

We each have choices about what to do with the cards that we are dealt as well.

Everyone is given specific cards for a reason and often we waste our lives wishing to have the cards of someone else who we think is living a better life than we are.

Ultimately, we don’t know if someone has a better life because we don’t live inside of someone else’s head or home. We don’t live with their particular thoughts, demons or struggles.

There is nothing wrong with wanting more or desiring certain things but that is different than wanting to BE someone else or wanting someone else’s life. Eventually, we need to stop comparing our life with others. We were dealt our particular hand to shape us into the best person that we can be.

Our purpose is to live in a manner that best uses our unique talents and abilities, and make a positive impact on the world around us.

Our life circumstances contain valuable life lessons that can move us to magnificent experiences.

This knowledge can help give hope and meaning to any suffering we may have, and opens the door to asking better questions such as:

  1. What are the things I can change about myself and life?
  2. How can I utilize those things I can’t change?
  3. How can I make the most of what I’ve been given?
  4. How can I find the courage to pursue my true desires?
  5. How can I be a better person?
  6. How can I contribute to myself, my loved ones and the world?

When we put our energy and focus on answering questions such as these, instead of asking why we don’t possess what someone else has; it will matter less what someone else is doing, being or having.

Action Step:

Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your life, and answer the questions above.

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18 thoughts on “Courageously Play the Hand You Are Dealt

  1. Those are very motivation questions for me, indeed.

    – Recently a friend of mine ended her blog post mentioning that it always helps her, when there are too many “whys” in her life, to turn them into “hows”. I just had started to ask more “hows” in my own life, just that I had not been fully aware of that until that moment. I thought: What a great reminder!

    Now, only a couple of days later, I am reading this post of yours and am finding the same direction. What a wonderful synchronicity. It’s midnight, now, in my time zone, but I will include this action step in my morning pages after a good nights sleep.

    Thank you, Cathie! 🙂

    • I love when those ‘coincidences’ happen! So good to read your wonderful comments Stefanie, and glad you found the questions motivational! Yes, it does seem the ‘How’ questions serve us better than the ‘Why’ ones. How wonderful that you will be using the action step in the morning after you have rested! Excellent! 🙂

      • Yes, I promised to “listen” (and follow) the synchronicities even more consequently, this year. (No resolution, though, it just “happened” to come in with the change of years 😉 )

        I agree that the “How” questions serve us better when we wish to move something, as they keep the focus on where I want to go and feel good as opposed to where I feel discontent. And it helps immensly to be aware of that so that we can use it as tool. At least it gives me quite a push into a healthy direction.

        I actually did include that action step into my Morning Pages, today. As I also wanted some space to write my three free pages I chose to make it a “week-action-step” with segments of seven daily “mouse-action-steps”. Today I made the list, the following six days I will answer each one of the questions. This way I can also integrate this idea over a longer period. Sometimes that is helpful for me, anyways.

        (Ha! just seeing my typo on “motivation/ motivating” up there… guess I WAS tired *lol*)

        Wishing you a wonderful and happy day when you read this, Cathie!

      • Love it! The ‘week-action-step’ is great Stefanie! What an excellent idea! Sounds like the healthy and creative energy is really flowing this year. So wonderful to read that you already made the list! It will be interesting to see what is revealed, by incorporating the questions into your Morning Pages over several days. Very courageous! I am inspired by your plans for the week and your dedication to learning and growing. Happy writing! Enjoy the day. 🙂 Blessings, Cathie

      • Glad if the inspiration is flowing in back to you, Cathie – what a happy exchange! 🙂

        And, yes, I feel it, too, that the creative energy is flowing very healthily and strongly, this year.

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