God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
American-Filipina Jessica Cox, quotes this prayer before going on stage to tell her story. Born without arms, she does everything a “normal” person is able to do—with just her feet: swimming, driving a car, playing piano, even putting on make-up.
But Jessica didn’t stop at “normal” things. She is the first person without arms in the American Taekwondo Association to get a black belt title (she now teaches classes), and is a Guinness World Record holder as the first armless person in aviation history to become a certified pilot.
“I’ve been to Canada, Italy, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Ghana, and the Philippines this year, and the message of persistence is universal. It is always tempting and easy to give up,” says Jessica, in her 2012 newsletter (download the full version here) “Everyone struggles. Everyone has disappointments. Persisting through difficulties and learning from them makes us stronger.”
When I read her email this morning, the thoughts which had previously been weighing me down seemed so trivial. How many times do we go through our days making excuses, seeing the negative, or stopping at hurdles rather than challenging ourselves to jump over them?
Her accolades speak for themselves:
• Guinness World Record: The First Armless Person in the World Ever to Have Obtained a Pilot’s License, 2011
• AOPA LIVE Pilots Choice Award 2010: Most Watched Female Aviator
• Filipino Women’s Network: 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the U.S., 2009
• Published in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, 2009
• The Filipino American Journal Award of Excellence, Outstanding Filipino Award, 2008
Jessica, who recently got engaged, is looking for tax-deductible donations to fund a new documentary about her life and her preparations for marriage. For more information or a copy of the film proposal please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about Jessica’s amazing life at www.rightfooted.com