© 2017 Dr. William Tan

TURNING ADVERSITY INTO ADVANTAGES

No one seems to be spared from challenges, adversities, setbacks, obstacles, defeats, downfalls or whatever form it may take. Growing up with poliomyelitis which paralyzed me from the waist down at the age of two, I crawled everywhere as my parents could not afford the leg braces, crutches or wheelchair. I was regarded by many as one without any hope. My parents taught me what it means to have self-belief, to win with less and to maximise my potential with what I have ie good arms and brain. Repeated rejections by medical school admission boards invigorated me to work harder and never to give up no matter how long it takes.  I was finally accepted into medical school after 21 years. I became the first and only person on wheelchair who is a physician in Singapore (just as rare an achievement elsewhere).

THE POWER OF POSSIBILITY THINKING

Some push the boundaries, some are bound by boundaries, some disappear from boundaries. They see no limits to what they can accomplish except for the limits they place on themselves. The word “impossible” becomes “I M Possible”.  To survive in these circumstances, companies need some of the skills and mind set of those who have truly faced life and death decisions. My unique struggle, personal survival and success to beat extreme odds reaffirms the messages about goal setting, risk management, about teamwork, hope, and the art of the possible.

TURNING SETBACKS INTO COMEBACKS

For individuals and organisations, the ideal destiny for any undertaking is a good finish like in a marathon race. In the context of many uncontrollable factors, the reality is very different.  For some,  a setback kills the dreams, for others, the setback is transformed into a comeback. I chose to believe that “tough times never last but tough people do”. My focus was on finding solutions rather than on problems. I harnessed the support of family and friends. I survived the treatment and returned to sports and to medical practice looking after other cancer patients.