A few years ago, I was asked to visit a very special person in Akron Children’s Hospital. Michael was fifteen years old and just had a traumatic gymnastic accident exactly a week prior to my visit. ┬áThe accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. His father set everything up for me to be a surprise visitor.

I went there intending to bring Michael words of encouragement and inspiration. In return, I ended up being the one filled with inspiration beyond words. He and his family had so much hope and optimism surrounding the whole situation. Only positive energy and words filled the outlook they had. Years later, Michael has become an amazing, productive young man despite the devastating event that occurred. He didn’t let a wheelchair define who he is. Adversity makes strong people.

No matter how bad situations or predicaments seem, they can always be much worse. We must subscribe to positive thinking and live our lives with a purpose. Every day counts, every minute counts, and every moment we are alive can be meaningful. We need to find positive outlets of expression.

We all get down and depressed, and life will have its speed bumps. One of my favorite outlets is skateboarding. If I have a bad day, I jump on my board, set up my Landwave ramps in my driveway and transform to a better creative mood.

The hard times will make you a better, stronger person. Stay grateful for what you have instead of what you don’t have. It’s also essential to help those in need. Sometimes the smallest gestures can be monumental to someone that is going through struggles. Just like I did for Michael all those years ago. He’s now living life to the fullest and inspiring so many people, he sure did me.