Imagine waking up blind.
One moment you can see, and in the next moment, your vision is made up of only childhood memories.
At the tender age of 16, this became a reality for Ben Pettingill when overnight he lost 98% of his eyesight to a rare genetic syndrome, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Running on adrenaline and shadowed by denial, Ben believed that he was just living a nightmare and that he would wake up one morning and be able to see again. He soon came to realise that this was not the case. His syndrome is incurable and he will be blind for life.
While the shock, then grief of losing one's eyesight cannot be discounted, once Ben processed his new reality he realised that he had to make a choice that would define the rest of his life. Ben came to learn that a blind man could see, and his miracle was the activation of True Vision and Limitless Vision; vision powered by mindset as opposed to eyesight.
Harnessing the True Vision and Limitless Vision mindsets whilst developing resilience in the face of adversity has been paramount to Ben's happiness. He'll be the first to tell you that if he could, he wouldn't go back and change what happened to him because without losing his eyesight, he would not have gained the life he lives today.
Ben is the guy who water-skis with direction through an ear piece, coaches’ basketball teams without being able to see the ball, has trekked the Kokoda track with plans to do it again (and again) and has even driven a car! He is not limited by his circumstances and his potential is infinite. He is the only legally blind person in the world to have competed in a Spartan obstacle course race, untethered, and water-skied the Southern 80, the fastest water skiing race in the world. Overall, Ben views life as an oasis of opportunity to learn and grow.
While Ben may not be able to see physically, what he can see is that life has no limits other than what we impose on ourselves and on others, and it is up to us to create the life that we ‘see' for ourselves. There was a time when Ben believed that all the dreams he had for himself were impossible but that certainly is not his belief now.
He may not be the helicopter pilot that he always dreamed of being but instead he lives out the full time dream job he never knew he had as a professional, motivational speaker. Ben get's to change peoples lives for the better by sharing his learnings and providing a new perspective on life to corporate and education audiences on a daily basis. A far greater and more widespread impact than he could have had whilst flying a chopper!
And he may not play footy (AFL), cricket or basketball anymore but that doesn't stop this sports fanatic from following each code avidly. Ben has simply substituted his love for team sports for adventure sports like water skiing, mountain bike riding, hiking and obstacle course racing so still get his much needed outdoors and physical activity fix.
And while he once believed that he would be unloveable and nothing but a burden, he has since crushed that way of thinking and now lives in Melbourne with his girlfriend Amy and their dog, Aussie, and they're creating a bright and positive future for themselves.
You see, Ben's just you're typical Australian guy with some added guts, an extra shot of adrenaline and a whole lot of motivation to prove to himself and to others that life really is limitless.