Adversity, Knee Braces, & Attitude

“If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.” Terry Goodkind 


ADVERSITY enters our lives when we least expect it.

How we deal with our challenges defines who we are.

While training in jiu jitsu, I heard a pop in my knee.


Not the background music I was hoping to hear while training.

2 weeks later…

I am standing next to an orthopedic surgeon looking at an MRI that shows what a full ACL tear looks like.

Fun times.

Dealing with a knee injury could bring a level of adversity to your daily life.

I am a HUGE believer that our life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. 

Jeffrey Benjamin said, “Adversity always hides a gift.”  

Our job is to find it.

I have found 4 ways to move forward and uncover any “gifts” my torn ACL is trying teach me.

1) Stay Calm

Fear thrives in adversity.

Expose yourself to enough stories of the worst possible outcome, and your mind will start to believe them.

One way to empty our minds of fear and fill it with positive vibes is to BREATHE.

As soon as I got injured, I focused on my breathing.


  • Slow, deep breaths.
  • In your nose.
  • Out your mouth.

It’s amazing how this simple technique allows your mind to relax.

Learning how to breathe is one of the true gifts learned by those who train jiu jitsu and yoga.

2) Embrace Change

Take a page out of Charles Darwin’s book and learn to ADAPT.

My energy comes from being active.

Playing sports with my kids, training jiu jitsu, or exploring the city with my wife.

But with a knee as strong a Kardashian marriage, I have to make adjustments.

I started rocking out the elliptical machine like a Real Housewife of Orange County.

Not perfect.  But it will do for now.

3) The Power of Community

The fear adversity puts in your head withers and dies in the company of like minded people.

Speaking to friends who went through the same situation is invaluable.

Discussing options with a top physician creates a game plan to get back to full speed.

4) Keep Moving Forward

Life moves on.

An injured knee is not going to stop me from living my life to the fullest.

A few days after I got hurt, I was scheduled to chaperone a Class Trip with my son.

I bought my 1st ever knee brace and jumped (more like limped) onto the school bus. 

Awesome day – Kardashian knee and all.

Call it my Kirk Gibson moment.

Getting injured is AVERAGE.

Learning to live your life in the face of adversity is REMARKABLE.

– Joe Ciccarone

About Joe Ciccarone

Host of the “Built Not Born” podcast, Blogger ( & BJJ Black Belt. "Escape Average, Be Remarkable."
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4 Responses to Adversity, Knee Braces, & Attitude

  1. MVF says:

    To Adapt is key. Good insight, yet again, JC. Hope full recovery is near.

  2. KA says:

    Cheers to you Joe and how you live your life as a great example everyday…even if your knee doesn’t choose to be awesome. You would fit right in with all of the athletic warriors that I see limp into the ED in NZ injured but willing to accept the challenge and move on as they plan to keep on doing what they love. Good on you, mate! Thanks for these inspiring words as we get ready for our new adventure in life and try to embrace this change.

  3. Jim says:

    Joe Chic..Look forward to a Stronger knee. I know you will work your tail off. I might have some Kathie Lee work out tapes if you need them.

  4. Best of luck with the knee and remember, golf will always be an option ( though I recommend lessons). No glitter required.

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