Perception - Its all that matters....

Have you ever stopped to think what this word perception really means and its relevance in the world today.  Over the last few years throughout my business life and personal battle with MS, I have come to understand how big a role perception plays in every day life.  You see if you think about it everything you do is perceived by someone - slightly confused - let me explain.

In the business world some people think you have to be completely ruthless to get to the top and that nice people don't win and nice people don't be successful.  I have been very lucky to work with scores of business people over the years and yes some fall into this category for sure but there are others who don't and are an absolute pleasure to work with.  Stereotyping entrepreneurs with this is a perception out there of some of the most successful business people in society -that's just the way it is.

OK lets look at another example this time, lets talk about Multiple Sclerosis.  I know I am not supposed to be openly talking about this as the perception is its not something to be talking openly about.  When we look at MS globally, the perception I have come across many times is that most think that at some point the person with the MS will be confined to a wheelchair.  Even if you know next to nothing about the condition the perception out there is that somewhere along the line you will be in a chair for the rest of your life.  The facts are this is incorrect and only a small percentage of people unfortunately suffer nerve damage in the area of the spinal chord which causes severe damage to the motor nerves preventing patients from walking - hence they need a chair to get around.

What I have found is that perception can be a very dangerous and ignorant thing and in my MS example, can cause a significant amount of stress and horror.  In fact when I first got sick on my honeymoon in Mauritius in 2006 and MS was mentioned a possible cause, my immediate reaction was that there was no way I could cope with being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.  That was the perception I had in my brain of the condition.  As a result of this the fear and worry I went through over the next 18 months was absolutely horrendous.  My lack of understanding of the condition and lack of information readily available meant I just assumed the worst like a lot of people today.

So when  I tell you my goal is to change the PERCEPTION of MS across the globe, what do I mean and how will I do it?

What do I mean?
I want more people to understand MS and to understand that even if you are diagnosed you can still lead a great life of fulfilment.  I am 7 years diagnosed this summer and I am currently training for my first adventure race, a 67km cycle, run and kayak in Ireland. In November I will be running the New York Marathon, my third marathon in as many years. Surely not, how can someone with MS be able to do this??? Well its happening and If you visit this blog at the end of November you will see for yourself ! 
The great thing about all of this for me is that I now know that through my own own story and experiences, I have been able to, in some small way  - change the perception of MS.  I have only started with my crusade on this front but I am determined to continue in this vain.

How will I do it? 
I recently released my new book Attitude Is Everything - My MS Story, where I share with the reader how I have managed to deal with the MS in the last few years and in fact push on and start to live again.  Through my website I interact with other MS sufferers and share my story knowing that some get a little hope from my positive experience.  Its a very gratifying feeling knowing that I am able to help fellow MS Champions even just a little in this way.  Through my blogs I will also share the ups and downs of MS and try and inspire those to start and fight back.  Its so important that everyone takes control and responsibility for their own health and well being.  MS or no MS its important to try and lead a healthy active life - the benefits outweigh the sacrifices.

So Perception - remember everything you do will be judged my someone - Life is all about perception, so before you make your mind up on something the next time, my advice is to educate yourself with the facts and then you will be able to make a more balanced decision.

Happy Easter all... #AttitudeIsEverything