Sunsets, The Karate Kid & Adapting


“All failure is failure to adapt.  All success is successful adaptation.” – Max McKeown

This was a bad idea.

My 3 year old daughter & I were sitting on top of a sliding board.

As we started to slide, I realized why sliding boards and torn ACL’s are not a great combination.

I limped through 100 days of summer with a torn ACL.

The experience was an amazing teacher.  But not one I plan on repeating anytime soon.

A complete ACL tear is an unique injury:

  • There is minimal pain after the “Pop!” (Yikes).
  • You’re not contagious.
  • There are many people dealing with MUCH worse.

But you are reminded 24/7 that you are living life at HALF SPEED.

An ACL tear affects the way you:

  • MOVE
  • WORK
  • SLEEP 

The injury changes how you look at a flight of stairs.

The injury changes how you approach the world.

If you are not careful, it can mess with your ATTITUDE.

I learned 3 lessons living with this injury:

1) I take my health for granted. 

Having the ability to HUSTLE through life is a GIFT.  

Showing GRATITUDE for simple things is a 2016 priority that I am putting in motion now – 4 months early.

I will give thanks more often.

2) Adapt or become irrelevant.

When you are injured, you have to get creative to stay active.

You have to be open to new ideas.  You have to have the courage to experiment.

I was forced to stop training Gracie Jiu Jitsu.  Not fun.

I had to swap out training Street Week & Open Mat for pull ups & the elliptical machine.

I used this as an OPPORTUNITY to update my U2 library.

Nothing like rocking out with Bono & The Edge.

Like Bono sings in the Song for Someone, “There is a light that we can’t always see. There is world where we can’t always be.” 

Sometimes we have to operate in a different light.  We have to learn to ADAPT to new worlds.

3) Shared experiences create strong bonds.   

I struggled with my inability to be active with my kids.

This injury made me realize how important being ENGAGED and ACTIVE is to making strong connections.

2 days before my surgery, we headed off to the beach.

Our goal was 1 last dose of summer before I was as mobile as a fire hydrant.

On the last night, we walked the beach at sunset.

My 8 year old asked if I could walk out on the jetty with him.

He wanted to get an “awesome view” of the sunset.

A torn ACL was not stealing this moment.

Waves crashed around us as we walked out over the slippery jetty.

I walked slow.

My FOCUS was not to end our trip with the ACL Splash into high tide.

While we were watching the sunset, my son said this was like The Karate Kid movie.

Daniel-San taking on a challenge with 1 good knee.

Adapt and overcome.

Is there any other way?

Living life at half speed is AVERAGE.

Having the ability to adapt 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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