Naval veteran Brad Snyder distinctly recalls the moment he realized that his life would never be the same.
It was just after he was wounded during an IED attack in Afghanistan with injuries that would leave him permanently blind.
“I remember waking up in the hospital and thinking ‘when I dream I can see, I can walk around just fine. But when I wake up, it’s dark again.'”
During his recovery, a nurse asked Snyder if he liked sports and suggested that he consider training for the Paralympics. A member of the swim team during his time at the Naval Academy, Snyder decided to return to the sport and ended up winning two Golds and one Silver during the 2012 ParalympicGames in London.
While most readers will not have to recover from setbacks as extreme as Snyder’s, he stresses that there are universal lessons to be leaned from his experiences.
We caught up with Snyder shortly after a recent speech he made at New York university as part of Deloitte’s “Road Show with Team USA.”
Try not to think of the past:“Dwelling on the negatives, dwelling on the stress, dwelling on the uncertainty – none of these are going to get you anywhere,” says Snyder. “Focus on the positives, focus on personal development, focus on the upsides.”
Accept that unfair things happen:“Crappy things are going to happen to everyone,” Snyder points out. “We’re all going to face adversity. “Embrace your circumstances and realize that you can make things change.”
Be humble:“I’ve had the good fortune that the way the Navy works is that you are thrown into the fire right away,” says Snyder. “I have been the laughing stock of every joke, I’ve made so many mistakes that I can’t even count them…It’s important to remember that success is often the fourth or fifth attempt.”
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