Speaker Dealing with change I am Jaap Bressers, I come from the south of The Netherlands, some people may see that as a double handicap… I was asked to come and speak here today in the hopes that they would get some subsidy… My life has always followed a certain path: elementary school, high school with an interest in economics, University program in International Management. My goal was to be a top business man in a company like Shell or Unilever and make good money too…. The Change Until the moment that I was on vacation in Portugal, at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon I walked into the water, and just pass that ‘Oh’-moment (the men know what I mean)… I am standing in waist-deep water and this big wave comes towards me. The wave has my name on it so I dive into it, Something goes wrong. There is a rock or pile of sand, I dive too deep and I break my neck I guess I don’t have to explain that this was a very hard period in my life, can you imagine waking up in a body that isn’t yours? When I awoke panicking, and shouting no one took notice, they were used to that. There were many diving victims in Portugal and panic was part of the diagnosis. Diving victims are panicky, therefore there is no medical necessity to do something about it. This man here, Carlos, he saved my life by making the right decisions and instructing his team to (when I awoke panicking) place a hand on my shoulder (where I still have feeling)
and tell me that it is okay. That was all that was needed: a hand on my shoulder and the words “it is okay”. By doing this he made the difference for me. This inspired me so much that I have to believe that everyone can make a difference. You can too! Everyone sitting here can make a difference. Achieving your goals The first thing you think about is: I want to walk again. I worked really hard, rehabilitated for 4 years in the SM clinic (Saint Martin clinic). Unfortunately, I had to adjust my goals to experience walking just one more time (with help from this fantastic apparatus) And it didn’t matter to me if it didn’t work, what did matter is that I did everything possible within my possibilities to try and achieve my goal. I have experienced indoor skydiving. So cool!
And no technical equipment needed. Just my legs and a roll of duct tape! Legs taped together and in the ventilator. Fantastic experience! And I realized this is really my thing: wheelchair rugby, indoor skydiving, going to Volendam on a Dutch vacation… Going all the way within my own possibilities. You can do so much if you’re willing to try. Funny thing is I made this list about 2 years ago, every time I preformed I was a step closer to performing in the Royal Theater ‘Carre’. And now, I look at this list and I realize that these are not goals anymore but a way to share my positive energy. Making money is not a goal for me anymore either Making money is a logical result of doing what I love to do. If you can see this and follow your passion, that is wonderful. Dealing with setbacks Everyone here has experienced something that I wouldn’t want to trade places with. It is really clear for everyone to see my setback, my wheelchair… And it’s not about what comes our way, because what experiences we get in life we can’t choose, we get them for free. But how we deal with setbacks, that we CAN choose. How we deal with setbacks, determines the quality of our lives. In every setback there is a chance, to renew So, follow your dreams and make a difference. Thank you. www.jaapbressers.com