The Secret to Success

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” –Lou Holtz

Ever since having Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery nearly nine weeks ago, inquiring minds want to know if it was a success. I made it through the three hour operation without any complications. I am working hard to regain my stamina and strength in hourly physical therapy (PT) sessions, three times a week, at Plantation Medical Rehab & Wellness. Plus, I do daily PT exercises for my hamstrings, heel cords, and hip flexor muscles – the three areas Dr. Park recommended I focus on after the operation. People marvel at how much better I walk now, often saying, “It’s a miracle!” Sounds successful, right? It depends.

I say this because the definition of success is subjective, based on personal feelings and opinions. Every SDR journey is unique. Each patient has her own starting point, as well as personal milestones she’d like to accomplish. I’m still scratching the surface of what I am capable of both mentally and physically. While I’m happy with my results so far – the work that will truly gauge my level of SDR success – has only just begun. I will be successful! I know the secret to success – AMA: Ability, Motivation, Attitude. It works every time. There is no quick fix. There is no short cut. You cannot fail when you apply these tried and true principles. Let’s delve into the three components of AMA.

1. Ability: The capacity to do something. You must have the necessary skills and/or talents in order to achieve a goal. Let’s say, for example, that you want to play shortstop for the Boston Red Sox. You need to be honest about your ability to play major league baseball. Do you have the physical prowess necessary to succeed? Wanting to do something and being able are to do it are two vastly different concepts. Yesterday (with the aide of a gait belt and my awesome therapist, Jon) in PT, I practiced jumping on a trampoline, then on the ground, before jumping from the ground onto a step. Based upon my performance on the trampoline, etc., Jon knew I had the ability – the necessary skills (balance, muscle strength,etc.) to jump onto the step.

2. Motivation: The desire to do something. You can have all the ability in the world, but without strong desire – or motivation – nothing will happen. Motivation starts and ends with you. Only you know why you want to achieve or do something. Use your desire to fuel the motivation to achieve success. Motivation inspires action. Action propels success! Like the definition of success, our sources of motivation are subjective. Know what motivates you and use it to succeed! My motivation for having SDR surgery includes the desire to do more with less effort, learn how to ride a bike, and prevent further deterioration (and, possibly, a wheelchair, later in life) of my body due to cerebral palsy. I also (this revelation came after SDR) didn’t want to be stared at in public because of the way I walk. My gait has improved so much that this is now a reality!

3. Attitude: A way of thinking typically reflected in a person’s behavior. The way you think – your attitude – determines how you will behave. If you think you can do something, you’re right. If you think you can’t do something, you’re still right…unfortunately. Like Lou Holtz said, attitude also determines how well you do something. Yesterday, My PT reminded me to tell myself (after tentative attempts) I was going to jump on the step. Guess what? It worked! Go ahead – have an attitude! It’s essential to your success.

Take inventory of your abilities and talents. Know what motivates you. Get an attitude and believe in yourself! AMA: Ability + Motivation + Attitude = The Secret to Success! Use the AMA mantra along with dedication and hard work to achieve your goals. Success is guaranteed!

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