Nothing is set in stone! “What have I got to lose?”

Years ago I was very inspired by a friend who had been in a car accident and had spent some 20 years in a wheelchair.

Ana von Rekkur (?)

She was a grandmother when I met her, but she had decided to test a principle she had heard, “Nothing is set in stone”, and try to teach her legs to walk again. After 20 years in a wheelchair. A retiree who wasn’t physically active.

That would seem like Mission Impossible to most people, and in fact, she received some pushback from people.

I listened to her, and decided to just suspend judgment and pre-conceived ideas, and see what unfolded instead.


She had heard that equine therapy was helping some accident victims and war vets to heal and regain better use of their legs, so she signed up for an equine therapy program. She also had heard that doing modified yoga positions was helping others regain use of and to strengthen body parts, so she signed up for that too.

She steadfastly kept going.

In the beginning, there wasn’t much change, but she persisted. Whether it was needing to hold onto hope or a deeper understanding of how her body could work, she didn’t give up, when most people would have, let alone NEVER would have tried it in the first place.

(I was inspired to write this post after I saw what I had written in response to Wynne’s post on Surprised by joy, “Growth Mindset”

One thing I learned from a friend who had been in a wheelchair for more than 20 years as a result of a car accident and who was determined to teach her legs to walk again: “Nothing is set in stone!”

Years ago we were taught that intelligence and abilities were predetermined and weren’t changeable, so when women and men were told they had limitations based on gender, for the most part they believed it! A few brave souls pushed themselves and pushed the limits but many were chastised and punished for their efforts.

Now years later we see they were right all along! The limitations are in our minds! We can do pretty much anything that we set our minds to do!

Back to my friend who went through equine therapy to teach the muscles and synapses in her legs to learn to re-fire and to function again. She also did modified yoga poses, sometimes on her back to strengthen her muscles.

Guess what? She was successful! She did something that her doctors said would never happen!

Setting our minds to be open to learning is the first step to becoming capable of doing it. Efforts and persistence fill in the blanks over time and help us to develop the skills we seek to do!

“Growth Mindset”

“What have I got to lose?”

I learned from my friend’s experience and “What have I got to lose?” became something I’d tell myself when faced with something I thought would be impossible to do.

I later shared that new mantra with my daughter, and together and individually we have been able to do things we didn’t think we were capable of doing.

This phrase was key to becoming open to trying something new or “impossible”, and this in turn opened my mind to exploring other things I had closed myself off to.

At the very least, we walk away

When we want to try something but aren’t sure if it will succeed, or if we could actually pull it off, experience has taught me to dip the toe into the proverbial waters.

Just as the image of dipping a toe into the water doesn’t invoke a lot of fears, simply because we aren’t jumping in head first. A slow but steady approach is key to success!

If we just jump in, we may hit obstacles lying under the surface which we can’t immediately see. However, by dipping a toe in, we can safely remove ourselves if it proves to not be for us.

Trying something out slowly allows us to adapt to the new situation, and build some new fledgling skills we will use later. It allows us to build up our confidence with small accomplishments.

Persistence is a key factor

Just because we try something out at a slower pace doesn’t mean we aren’t 100% invested in our efforts. It just means we’re going at a slower, more mindful pace, so we don’t get in over our heads!

Just like my friend kept going to her therapy sessions and to yoga classes, even when she wasn’t seeing results at the beginning, DOESN’T mean that nothing was actually happening!

By persisting in our efforts, we’re building new neural pathways, developing new muscle memories, and building our skill levels.

Sometimes a long time can go by when it doesn’t seem like much is happening, and all of a sudden things seem to just fit into place!

Trust the process

Marianne Williamson

Too often we give up before we see the results. “Well it wasn’t going to work anyway,” we tell ourselves.

I’ve seen this happen when people are working on a big inner breakthrough because as so often happens in those moments, everything seems inside-out and upside-down. There can be TOO MUCH happening inside, and it feels very overwhelming.

When the overwhelm comes, and it will, pause

Developing new neural pathways happens when we start having new thoughts or doing actions we previously didn’t do.

Every thought and action creates new neural pathways.

Habits get created when thoughts and actions are repeated often enough that a neural pathway roadway is built from all the overlaying paths. If we repeat a thought or action often enough that becomes our go-to, as our brains are seeking ways to be more efficient.

Habits were created out of our brains trying to be efficient and not keep wasting energy thinking about the process too much.

Creating NEW habits is very tiring because we need to mindfully focus on our new thought or action, all the while our brain is strongly pulling back into our old shortcuts because it is what is more comfortable for our brains!

When you feel overwhelmed or tired with all the new work you are doing, just pause!

Take a break! Slow down!

Instead of giving up, give your mind and spirit time to absorb all the newness.

What we need is a pause, not to give up!

Sometimes the best thing for us is to take a break! Slow down the pace!

Even if we keep taking baby steps, we will still cover the miles, it will just be at a more manageable pace!

Whose timetable are we trying to live up to?

We feel stressed when we can’t “keep up” or do what others seem to be able to do easily.

When we follow our own inner timetable, we listen to both what our spirit wants us to accomplish, as well as what our minds and bodies are capable of!

Take the time you need to, and slow down your pace if necessary.

Pacing yourself is a sign of wisdom, NOT weakness!

As long as you keep going, you will make progress!

Remember my friend in the wheelchair? She developed her strength and abilities over time and she regained the ability to walk!

Encouraging, isn’t it?

B. Atkinson

I hope you’ll poke around my Archived Posts to find a wonderful trove of supportive and encouraging posts!

I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:

More good stuff:

Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves

By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!

Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!

Red Ocean or Blue Ocean? How do you think?

An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!

My top 10 most viewed posts, plus a few bonuses!

A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…

Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?

A new you! Is this possible?

Start today, start tomorrow, just start!

There is no enlightenment outside of daily life – Thich Nhat Hanh

Please go to my Archived Posts page to find more wonderful posts to check out!

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26 thoughts on “Nothing is set in stone! “What have I got to lose?”

  1. Really inspiring post and you’re absolutely right about persistence. I also really agree with what you said about pausing instead of giving up. A lot of people keep going until they can’t and end up giving up. Instead if we take frequent breaks and then keep going we can achieve a lot more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank yo so much Pooja! Yes, I’ve found this approach works best for me. Sometimes we try to power through too quickly and get overwhelmed or give e up because we don’t see the return on the energy, but in reality it does require more effort than we realized.

      I used to feel guilty that I couldn’t go as fast as others or that my energy wasn’t as strong to just power through, but I’ve co.e to see that this “weakness” is a hidden strength, because in having g had to take baby steps for years, I developed a lo ger range view, and see that doing things slowly but with persistence pays off in the long run.

      It’s also easier on the wallet! Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know exactly what you mean because I’m the same way. When I push myself too much I end up getting overwhelmed and give up. However, taking breaks helps me stay focused without getting overwhelmed.

        It may seem weak but in truth it works much better in the long run for sure and you avoid burnout.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I do the same thing! I see people rushing at breakneck speed, and here I am going at a more manageable pace. Later I see they need to correct mistakes, or worse something doesn’t work because it wasn’t done carefully enough. They end up doing double the work. I much prefer my pace, for then I’m not wasting my energy with a duplication of efforts to get it done correctly!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Exactly, they always end up messing up to because they’re going to fast. As the cliche goes, slow and steady wins the race. I don’t mind if I’m a little behind as long as I’m doing well. We all go at our own pace.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yuppies! I totally agree! Even if I don’t accomplish as much as some people I’m happy with my progress and I don’t burn myself out! Mental health and physical health are precious!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Good for you! I love your spirit! Placing yourself and your health first is important to succeeding at your goals!

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Very very motivating post. I don’t know how but your advice always helps me. I have been forcing myself to adopt this attitude in my business dealings but I want to apply the same to my daily life too. And your friend’s story is super inspiring. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Moksha! I’m delighted that you are finding my posts helpful! Your responses are so very validating, which helps me to keep sharing!

      Her story changed my perception of what is possible and what isn’t. She taught me that we often don’t have much to lose if we decide to really try something, instead of immediately dismissing it in our minds. It helped me to be much more open to thinking about doing something.

      She also showed me that the most daunting task can still be accomplished by breaking it down into much smaller and doable steps. If the prescribed steps are still too much for us to handle, we can give ourselves permission to rethink how to do things and take an unorthodox approach.


    1. Lol! Thanks Wynne! Yes, it’s such a good moto to try out on many things! I highly encourage people to try that thought on for size!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I watched a very good friend of mine, with great determination and self love, go from Type 1 diabetes back to just using tablets like a Type 2 diabetic. The Dr’s were stunned and said it couldn’t be done…but here he was living proof that it could 😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s amazing! I’ve seen other people reverse some supposedly irreversible illnesses similar by switching to healthier diets, adding probiotics for thier gut health.

      It’s amazing how much we don’t know yet about the human body and what it’s capable of, that it seems silly to describe e something as being irreversible.

      My second husband was sent home from the Maryland Cancer Center to get his affairs in order and prepare to die in a month or two from an inoperable cancer. He allowed a friend to take him to his sister who is a doctor of western medicine plus a naturopath. She put him on a diet, gave him teas to drink, and as he kept going back to the Cancer center where they kept taking MRIs, they saw the tumor was shrinking. The doctors were amazed, bit told him whatever he was doing g, he should continue it. That was a few years before we had met, and we were together for around 10 years.

      Liked by 1 person

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