10 and 90: What does it mean and why is it so important to me?

As many people know, my life changed forever on July 2, 2003. I suffered a spinal cord injury (at the C5-C6 level) and became paralyzed from the nipples down. Among the many thoughts racing through my head about what happened that fateful day and the ensuing days after, there has been and always will be something that I remember. As I lay in one of the hospital beds, my former High School football coach, John Robak, said something to me. He said, “Logan, I know you are going to fight this, but always remember, ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'” It struck me very deeply, I have always been a very positive person and I think I have been able to draw strength from that simple quote. For those of you who haven’t heard/read the entirety of where that quote is taken from, here you go:

“The longer I love, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.”

I will never forget this quote, and that is where the “10 and 90” has sprung from. I even have a tattoo on my left arm with the numbers “10” and “90” designed into it as a reminder that I can’t sweat the small things. I can’t change what has happened, I can only go forward and deal with the cards I have been dealt. In my mind, positivity is the best medicine for any situation and especially with an injury. I can say without a doubt I have been able to recover and continue my recovery because of my positive outlook on life and the injury. I have willed myself to getting better by constantly believing I will get better. If I would have been sitting around moping and being negative all day it wouldn’t have done anything good for me. The only thing being negative brings, is negativity; and vice versa with being positive. I get a lot of people who hear about my story ask me the same questions, “Man, how have you been able to stay so positive?”, and it’s an easy question to answer: I don’t know any other way. I believe so deep inside my mind that things will get better, that any other thought is just ludicrous. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my dark days and days when I just cried, but that was early on when I was still trying to figure out exactly what happened. It is hard work, I go to the gym at 5:30am every morning before work and push myself to get stronger. Now, that is just any other routine in my life, but the cool thing is going to the gym and having grown adults come up to me and say I inspire them to come to the gym, that they’d rather be in bed sleeping but knowing that I’ll be there working hard pushes them to get in the gym. I have directly and/or indirectly inspired a lot of people and it brings me great joy knowing so. I continue to push myself for my own dedication, but I draw strength from others who have told me I inspire them in their own personal lives. It is an awesome feeling knowing that I can inspire others to better themselves all because I didn’t give up.

So next time you are having a tough day or struggling with something, think “10 and 90”. It is something that has allowed me to face the challenge head on and never give up, and I know for a fact it can and will help you too. Remember, it’s not what happens, it’s what you do about what happens.

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