Michael J Fox: A Lesson in Resilience or How Optimism Can Save Your Life

Michael J. Fox isn’t defined by his disease; he’s strengthened by it. We can all learn from that.

Michael J. Fox is one of my favorite actors. I was walking on the beach two years ago and talked with him when our dogs began to play. He is a very nice man.

But as important as his being nice, he lives a life of optimism and determination that we can all learn from. In the prime of his acting career, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he disclosed it to the public in 1999. Since then he has been seeking a cure for Parkinson’s and now, he has re-turned to TV with his own sitcom “The Michael J. Fox Show.”

He is a person who is definitely not defined by his limitations. Fox knows that if you focus on what’s possible and thinkable, you can achieve greatness. That is what we can all learn from him. Despite his health problems, he has worked tirelessly to help others with Parkinson’s disease. He has worked continuously to will his body to match his enthusiasm and acting potential. And he has shown that the true commodity that we all need for success is resilience.

When I watch his new show, rather than focus on the limitations his disease has imposed, I marvel at the challenges he has overcome. That is why we need to see Michael on TV. And he is not alone in having a chronic illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control:

  • 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke represent over 50% of all deaths each year.
  • Almost 1 of every 2 adults will have at least one chronic illness.
  • Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in 3 adults is obese, and almost 1 in 5 youth between ages 6 and 19 is obese, increasing their risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
  • About one-fourth of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations.

Most chronic illnesses are potentially preventable. Many are overcomeable. That’s why taking the time and making the effort to prevent what you can and overcome what you can’t is so important. Like Michael J. Fox, become resilient for a fuller, more productive and much happier life.

Believe in the power of optimism and action for achieving your goals.