Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Am Potential

I had the good fortune to meet a remarkable young man today. The story of Patrick Henry Hughes has been documented on television on shows like Oprah and Extreme Home Makeover. Because of his athletic connection, he's also been on ESPN. However he's not an athlete. In fact, when you know about him, you'll see that he never could be. But in talking to him, you realize he has lived his young life not by what he can't do. He lives by what he can do.

To catch you up, Patrick was born without eyes. He does not have the ability to full straighten his limbs, meaning he can't walk. He has steel rods surgically inserted into his back to correct scoliosis. But when you talk to him, don't speak about disabilities. He considers what he has and what he can do as abilities. His blindness he sees as a gift because he doesn't care about body type or skin color. He can't because he's never been exposed to them. He was born with the ability to know a person beyond the surface.

He is also musically gifted, playing piano at 9 months of age. As a trumpeter, he is a member of the University of Louisville School of Music Marching and Pep Bands. At the Louisville program, to be in the pep band, you must also be a member of the marching band so his father wheels him along in formation with his 220 bandmates and he contributes to University of Louisville Cardinal spirit. So, you might imagine, he's majoring in music at school. However, since Patrick is full of surprises, he adds another one here. He's a Spanish major who entered college at junior level in the language. That's not surprising when you look at his academics: straight A's with only 5 B's since middle school.

After speaking with him, I had to make sure I purchased his book "I Am Potential: Eight Lessons in Living, Loving and Reaching Your Dreams." In it, I am struck by the similarities to what Patrick is speaking of and the Law of Attraction. The title of chapter one is: "When Life Gives You Lemons, Accept Them and Be Grateful." I followed Jeannette Maw with a post about that same topic recently. Acceptance of what is, and being grateful for it, helps you achieve your wishes and dreams. I won't spoil the rest of the book for you, but it's a good read and you'll see how to easily adapt it's lessons into your life.

By realizing what Patrick has gone through and his positive outlook on life, it's easy to bring yourself back into positivity. As readers of this blog know, I have battled feelings of negativity over the past few months and have allowed it to stifle my output somewhat, but after meeting Patrick and reading his book, it is easier to realign myself with the grateful and optimistic being I strive to be.

Thank you Patrick.

Here is an ESPN piece on Patrick


Good Vibe Coach said...

Wow, Tim! What a powerful example of acceptance and appreciation!

Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story.


Anonymous said...


I really enjoyed reading your Blog. Recently I have been diagnosed with scoliosis, so I spend most of my free time researching and trying to find information on the internet. In Fact in my search I found and they have introduced me to the world of SpineCor.. a flexible soft scoliosis brace.. I was so relief that I did not have to wear the hard rigid braces. I wear SpineCor under my clothes and no one even knows I have it on.. anyways, I look forward to all the updates. Thanks again,


Dr Stitzel said...

Genetic Pre-disposition + Environmental Influences = Idiopathic Scoliosis

Metaphorically, it could be described in terms of toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube.(Pictured below) The genetic pre-disposition would be the equivalent of how tightly the cap is screwed on; The environmental influence is how hard the hand is squeezing the tube; and the amount of toothpaste being ejected out of the tube is the resulting combination of both the cap tightness and the pressure from the squeezing hand.

Armed with this basic understanding of scoliosis of spine, it is readily apparent that one must alter either the patients genetic pre-disposition and/or eliminate the environmental influences prior the curvature becoming progressive and bio-mechanically driven.

Find out more about environmental risk factors at