It’s one thing to inspire success after beating worldly pressure; it’s another to inspire success after losing both your legs.
At the age of 19, Amy Purdy’s battle with bacterial meningitis cost her both of her legs. She struggled with depression, and only beat it when she learned to accept her new reality, but not without limitations. Purdy decided she was going to write her own new story.
“It was this moment that I asked myself that life-defining question: If my life were a book and I were the author, how would I want the story to go?” said Purdy in her TED Talk, Living Beyond Limits.
To start writing her new story, Purdy started to daydream about the life she wanted, one where she could enjoy the sport she loved, snowboarding. She not only used the power of imagination to see herself carving down a mountain of powder again, she could actually feel it, the wind against her face, and the beat of her racing heart.
After being unable to find prosthetics that would allow her to snowboard, she built her own. Today, she is a professional world champion snowboarder, Paralympic medalist, and Dancing with the Stars finalist, co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports—a non-profit organization that helps those with permanent disabilities get involved in action sports— and an inspiration for all us who are trying to get out of the way of the only obstacles that are preventing us from reaching our goals, ourselves.
She challenges us to control our lives and our limits. Here’s more from Living Beyond Limits:
‘’But if you ask me today, if I would ever want to change my situation, I would have to say no. Because my legs haven’t disabled me, if anything they’ve enabled me. They’ve forced me to rely on my imagination and to believe in the possibilities, and that’s why I believe that our imaginations can be used as tools for breaking through borders, because in our minds, we can do anything and we can be anything.”
“It’s believing in those dreams and facing our fears head-on that allows us to live our lives beyond our limits. And although today is about innovation without borders, I have to say that in my life, innovation has only been possible because of my borders. I’ve learned that borders are where the actual ends, but also where the imagination and the story begins.”
“So the thought that I would like to challenge you with today is that maybe instead of looking at our challenges and our limitations as something negative or bad, we can begin to look at them as blessings, magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever knew we could go. It’s not about breaking down borders. It’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.”
You can listen to the entire TED talk here.