Defying the Odds: Quadriplegic Walking Again
At the age of 19, Scott Burrows life was forever changed when a car accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. The accident left him with serious spinal cord injuries and diagnosed as a quadriplegic. Burrows had dreams of a professional career as a football and kick boxing fighter; his fighting in the ring, soon turned into a different kind of fight.
Here is the story:
Before the accident, Burrows played college football for Bobby Bowden at Florida State University and was a top ranked kick boxing champion, having his last fight broadcast by ESPN. Burrows believes he not only survived, but he made a choice that day to fight a different fight. Burrows set out to accomplish the impossible and applied his (three-prong) formula of Vision, Mindset and Grit to achieve things that others thought were impossible.
Epic Victory: Burrows started achieving goals in his rehabilitation that few doctors thought was possible. Within a year of being paralyzed, he began to regain some mobility. He enrolled back into college and earned a degree in finance and sought out to inspire others. After a six-year fight, Burrows did what doctors told him would be impossible, he walked again.
Burrows is a successful business entrepreneur and author. He also leads a rewarding and fulfilling professional life as an internationally recognized expert on Transformational Change and Maximizing Potential. Burrows believes if you want to develop an unstoppable mindset, it begins with the unshakable belief of what you believe about yourself, your abilities and your skills; it’s about your belief about these attitudes, in spite of your circumstances, that matters.
Burrows inspires others to thrive, beat the odds and achieve extraordinary results regardless of the challenge. He always has a powerful message on how to focus your thoughts, seek clarity and set goals by persevering through tremendous personal adversity. Burrows teaches others how to succeed in business and in life, no matter how hard the adversity is.
Through developing an unstoppable mindset, Burrows believes, you can overcome anything. “Lying on my back, paralyzed from my chest down, being diagnosed a quadriplegic, told I will never stand, walk or run again. I believed that if I could tap into my inner strength and incorporate my three-prong formula and if I could create the vision, if I could develop the mindset and if I could grit it out,” he continues, “then maybe, just maybe, I may be able to survive and perhaps I could change the impossibilities of walking again into reality.” Over some time, he started making some progress and began asking his doctor the tough question, “do you think I have what it takes to walk again?” Burrows said he always got the same answer, “it’s not impossible for someone who experiences paralysis, such as yourself from your shoulders all the way down to your toes to get some sort of movement. What’s impossible is for quadriplegic’s to walk again.”
Burrows relates his experience to having people in the business world who love to show you the statistics on why things can’t happen in life, why you will never tap into your true potential. Burrows said, “have you ever met those people that have you believe that you don’t have the ability or skills to compete with them in a world that refuses to stay the same. There is something I learned in my life, so many years ago, that I have held so true to my heart,” Burrows continues, “and I know it to be absolutely true; don’t allow your competition and other people’s belief’s to hold you back from achieving what you believe in your mind you might be able to achieve.”
It took Burrows, “6 years of my life, or 290 days, to go from the use of a wheel chair to the use of a cane.” He said he shares that with everyone, to let them know that if they can tap into their true potential, anything is possible. He wishes to give other people inspiration to not give up too soon to their dreams and as he says, “be willing to grit it out. I can only assure you that the sooner you do that more in your life, on a consistent basis, you will turn many of your dreams into reality.”
All the challenges Burrows was experiencing in his life, he had no control over, even being in a wheel chair; though, he came to realize that he does have control over his mindset and he says, “I focus on what I can control.” He encourages people to build trust with others and to exceed their own expectations. Burrows believes that vision is the beginning; of which, he believes is one of our most valuable assets. If you give your vision life and depth, you will begin to see success over and over. He said, “do it frequently; when you can no longer see it as an idea, you see it as real.”
We all have circumstances in our lives we wish we could change, whether small or large, he urges all to “choose how you look at it and how you interpret it, and how you react to it.” Burrows believes that your mindset can change any outcome. Your mindset can also keep you stopped and confined well into comfort zones.
Actress, Helen Hunt inspired Burrows with her mindset and insight, after she received an Oscar for her role in the movie, “As Good As it Gets.” After receiving her award, the interviewers asked “now that you have won the Oscar, you must be getting a lot of different types of movie scripts, my question is, how would you go about choosing which one best suits you?” Her answer surprised Burrows, she said, “I will go with what scares me.” Burrows asked, “what kind of mindset do you need to be in, in order to go with what scares you?” From his perspective, we need must be willing to leave our paralyzed state (metaphorically speaking) and take on more creative risks to achieve our goals and dreams. “We can’t change the past, but we can choose to respond to a life and a world that simply stays the same,” he said.
Unfamiliar opportunities have presented themselves to Burrows, though he has always persevered. He entered the life insurance industry and became a top producer, qualifying for the Million Dollar Round Table, a 100 percent commission-driven reward that less than 6 percent of his peers achieved. Several years ago, his brother came to him with a global idea and together they formed a company that markets custom blended fertilizers to golf courses in Southeast Asia. Today Burrows is co-author of the book “Conversations on Success,” president of an international export company and a wheel chair rugby athlete.
“You can have the most magnificent highly focused and highly concentrated vision, and a mindset of a world champion; but I believe those two areas won’t work as effectively as they could unless you are truly willing to discipline yourselves, persevere and to see things through. To me that takes great (strength),” says Burrows.
Like Burrows, we too can use our fullest potential to overcome life’s obstacles. It is through our obstacles that we define our potential. By seeking our unlimited fullest potential, we open the universe up to what will be achieved. We must not sell ourselves short, for what we can aspire to accomplish in this world, can help others or inspire them to achieve greatness for all of society.
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