I don’t normally associate paralysis with strength.

When I recall twenty-two years of adjusting to life in a wheelchair, it’s as though I’m programmed to greet difficult circumstances with: I’ll never be able to …

A wise physical therapist named Leonard once encouraged me to look at my circumstances from a different perspective. As I complained endlessly about the tasks I couldn’t accomplish with my damaged body, he sat beside me and drew this diagram. Seeing the confused look on my face, he explained.


“Look, you need to make a decision. Before your accident you could do ten thousand things, and now you can only do eight thousand. It’s horrible, and it’s not fair. But now you get to choose. You can spend the rest of your life griping about the two thousand things you lost, or you can focus on the eight thousand that remain.”

I’m not a fan of Pollyanna, and I don’t advocate denial or naïve blindness to challenges. Understanding and grieving the loss of the 2000 is necessary and important.

But as I’ve worked with Leonard’s 8000/2000 principle, I’ve come to understand that it really applies to everyone. Every individual has strengths and weaknesses. The key to success involves capitalizing on strengths and discovering ways to compensate for weaknesses.

We move forward only when we turn our attention to the promise and possibility of the 8000. It’s a principle I call realistic optimism: acknowledging challenge while focusing on opportunity.

Don’t allow what you can’t do to interfere with what you can do. John Wooden

What are the strengths with which God has blessed you? How can you capitalize on them as you move into this new week?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site

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