I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin
"The sun's rays filtered in from the partially opened shades of the plane. They lit up the world in front of me and warmed my soul, knowing I was almost to my destination. The beautiful golden light replaced the grey and hazy cobwebs from my eyes, revealing the most spectacular scene I had ever seen in my entire life. I looked out the small seven-inch window and witnessed something that I'll never forget! I beheld something in this magnificent world that the majority of people never get to see. I was looking out at Mount Everest, the world's highest peak! I was at the tail end of a three-flight journey with two layovers in between, nearly logging twenty-four hours of flight time. I hadn't gotten any real sleep in the last thirty-six hours. My bloodshot eyes were heavy, my mind was slow and sluggish, and my body was even slower in response. How did I get here? I thought to myself. Am I d-r-e-a-m-i-n-g? As Lao and Confucius once said, "A journey of one-thousand miles begins with one step." My story is about inspiring you to take your own journey one step at a time. It's about dreaming and accomplishing the impossible. It's not only about aiming for the sky and reaching for the stars but enjoying the journey along the way. Begin your personal journey today, press forward to the top, and don't you ever stop. As you move toward your dreams, there will be obstacles and setbacks along the way; don't be afraid. You can get to the top of your world by following the signs and guide posts within these pages. You can do it with others! You can do it with me! We can do it together, one step at a time!"
Wow. What a story! The story of Jeff Griffin from his accident to his lengthy recovery, and to his life since, is pure inspiration! He has overcome more obstacles in his lifetime than many people even dream of, and yet he still has a positive attitude. I can't even imagine. Truly, it's remarkable. Reading about Jeff's accident was so scary. I kept picturing his fall. Over and over. I couldn't read the hospital parts where he was describing the different surgeries and procedures; I skipped those because I didn't want to pass out on my couch. Ouch! Even during those difficult days in the hospital he tried to find the positives in the situation, and that would be so hard to do! I like that he not only points out the things he did right, but he also shows that he isn't perfect and that even he threw a little pity-party one day. I like the way the book is set up with mile markers as "chapters," and little bits of advice with goals you can set for yourself. Jeff has a good voice. It's easy to follow and understand, and he pulls you in with his humor and easy-going attitude. If you need a pick-me-up, this book is for you! It helps you put your problems into perspective, and give you a little push to do better and try harder.
The one thing I had a hard time with in this book was the grammar. There are many grammatical errors, and it was a bit distracting. Hopefully those will be fixed in following editions. It is clean, but there are discussions of adult issues like having children when you're paralyzed. It doesn't go into great detail, but be aware that it is there. There isn't any profanity or violence, but the scene of the accident is difficult to read. There is a Christian slant to the book, but it is not preachy and people of all faiths (or not faiths) will enjoy it.
The Following is an Interview With the Author Sent to Me by the Publicist
Jeff Griffin is a wheelchair athlete who earned his Master’s degree in Education and knows how to win. He played in the 2004 Athens Olympics, holds a Guinness Book of World Records, and is a four time NWBA All-Star MVP. He enjoys mentoring youth, distributing wheelchairs, and providing Peer Training Materials through his humanitarian efforts with LDS Charities. He is passionate about progress.
1.) What inspired you to write I'Mpossible? – My book is all about accomplishing the impossible and the journey we must take to fulfill our dreams. When I got to college the professor had all 150 of his students write a paragraph on a certain topic and hand it in. The next day he called six students names in the classroom and had them go to back of the room. They were told in semi-private terms that they needed to take a remedial class so they could get caught up. I was one of those six! I didn’t know it at the time but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned the basics of writing. I had a personal experience with a professor that cared about what I had inside my mind and heart. He was someone who wanted me to learn how to express and share my own ideas and stories. He taught me that the impossible was possible. He helped plant a seed of hope in the field of stories. I now love to lounge around in the world of words! This class and professor helped liberate me from the chains of doubt and discouragement. In return I hope to inspire millions to take their own first step towards their own dreams and desires with my personal story from trying to tragedy to triumph. My joy and happiness comes from helping others break free and see there is more to life than what we see!
2.) What is the main message of your book? The main message of I’mPossible is that we are all faced with a mountain of trials and more often than not, we listen to those around us and think that our personal trials are too big or too tough to overcome. That is just not true. In the introduction of the book I write, “I understand that more than likely you don't have the same problem as me but I believe we all have a handicap or a Mt. Everest to climb in some area of our lives. Nobody is perfect, no matter how much you want to believe it! Your handicap could be a mental disability that pains you beyond comprehension. It could be something that we have been suffering for days, months, and or even years. It could be a social handicap that paralyzes us when we're out in public or inside our private walls. It could be a physical handicap like my own where others can instantly see what our problem is without being able to hide it. Unlike other disabilities that are more personal which can be kept from others and hidden for a very long time. Your Mt. Everest could even be a spiritual handicap that we refuse to acknowledge. Or perhaps it could be something we have been struggling with for a very long time and we are having a very hard time overcoming it. Whatever your individual handicap is, it can be conquered! These disabilities can be either debilitating or liberating. They can hold us back or lift us up. They can remain our weakness or they can become our strengths. I hope by sharing my story of big dreams, grave disappointments, and euphoric triumphs it can help in some small way to lift you closer to the light that lifts. With each passing mile marker along the journey we can learn from our experiences or be lost for them. I have found peace in the pain and joy in the journey. I hope you can find some too, as you embark on your own journey within the pages of this book. Remember; there are no excuses when it comes to success! You'repossible!”
3.) How can your message help other people? I understand that my message will not resonate with everyone, but I do know from experience that when I see or read about someone else who overcomes great odds or challenges it gives me hope. I’m motivated to be better, to do more, and to give more. It shows me that if someone else can do hard things then I too can overcome hard and impossible things. Not only that, but that life can be cherished and enjoyed even with hardships and heartache. My message is a raw exposure to my heart and soul.
4.) What makes your book different than other motivational books? – I tried to make my book a little different by not only telling a heroic story but also giving some obvious and not so obvious clues on how to climb and overcome your own challenge of life. Whether it is physical, mental, social, or intellectual I believe there is a way to accomplish the impossible. There are guide posts instead of chapters and there is an invitation for every reader to think about certain areas of his or her life, and other places to take action with those thoughts. The invitations are not overwhelming and may seem too simple, but if followed, they will change your life. I tried to make it clear and simple but powerful!
Rating: PG+ (Graphic accident scene and discussions of having children while paralyzed)
Recommendation: 12 and up
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.