Turns out what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
At the age of 23, Alan Lock, a junior officer in the British Royal Navy, began to experience impaired vision. An eye test revealed he had macular degeneration and would be legally blind within a month.
The Royal Navy had no choice but to discharge Lock from his post—one that he had dreamed of since he was a child. Forced to give up on his career, Lock refused to give up on life and set his mind on a new goal and became the first legally blind person to row a boat across the Atlantic Ocean. He later became the first blind person to trek across Antarctica and the first blind person to run the Marathon de Sables in the Sahara. In addition to setting world records, he’s raised thousands of dollars for worthy charities and become a worldwide inspiration.
We all love an amazing comeback story; especially those about someone who recovered from a horrible event that caused them to re-think their entire worldview and purpose and emerged astonishingly successful. Psychologists David B. Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravets call these individuals “supersurvivors.” In their bookSupersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success they argue there are common characteristics of those who are able to turn a traumatic event into a personal success story.
Although the authors are careful to point out they aren’t advocating trauma, they say these individuals are extreme examples of tapping into the resilient nature that lies within all of us. Whether overcoming a traumatic event such as a sudden loss of eyesight or a minor setback such as losing a key client at work, Feldman and Kravets say there are four key traits that make supersurvivors so resilient that we can all learn from: