I heard a snapping sound and felt as if someone had kicked me from behind. I crawled off the indoor soccer field knowing that I wad done playing – I just did not realize how long I was done for. Meanwhile, the game went on.
That was exactly 12 weeks ago. This morning, I walked slowly across my house for the first time without crutches and felt elated – I could have been walking on air. I am still three months away from being able to go for a run, but I am grateful to have my mobility back. As someone who talks about the applications of positive psychology in all my courses, I’ve had to take a large dose of my own medicine, and I’m happy to report that it actually works.
The night of my injury, I woke up with my pillow-case drenched with sweat. The MRI confirmed that I needed surgery. The next day I was introduced to my 2 new best friends – a pair of crutches. Two days later, at my daughter’s eighth birthday, I fell flat on my face trying to pull out my wallet from my back pocket to pay the pizza delivery man. As I was helped up, I realized that I would not be catching my flight to Boston next week for the AshokaU conference which I had been looking forward to for months. I would need to stay very close to home for the next six weeks if I wanted to give myself a good chance of walking again one day.
My Achilles tendon ruptured because I over-extended myself. At 40, I had already been playing for too long. It was time to take a break, rest, and recuperate so I could come back to play another day. I pushed on past my body’s limit and paid the price. But I’ve learned a lot from this injury. Here are my ‘Top 10 Reflections’ (a small tribute to the Dave Letterman).
Top Ten Reflections:
- The body and the mind are deeply interconnected.
- Showing vulnerability, which is inevitable when you’re visibly injured, leads to deeper connections with people and spontaneous interactions with strangers.
- By focusing on the silver lining on a dark cloud, it can grow to the point where the cloud disappears.
- Appreciating the things that I took for granted increased my enjoyment of them greatly – I can’t tell you how much I’ve been enjoying swimming again!
- Well wishes from friends in times of pain were very meaningful.
- Sitting on a bench with a view and doing nothing at all can be deeply relaxing.
- I was grateful for the help I got when I was on crutches, but when it wasn’t available, I was able to find a way.
- Taking a ‘time out’ from a very busy schedule can be a very good thing.
- A laptop, wireless internet and a couch is all I really needed to be fully functional professionally.
- I am going to appreciate watching the World Cup so much more!
So what? How are these ‘lessons learnt’ or reflections going to affect our work at the Centre? More than ever before, I feel that time & spaces to take a pause, reflect on ones mental models and priorities, and realize how much we can shape our own sense of well-being is critical. And this, I believe, is what all our courses offer.
Mohit Mukherjee is the founding Director of the UPEACE Centre for Executive Education.