WE Day 2016
11 March 2016: posted by BigChange
A Day of Inspiration
On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of attending the third annual WE Day in the UK. We can’t believe that it’s been three years since Holly helped to bring this amazing initiative over to the UK, and we were thrilled to be able to experience it all over again.
With over 12,000 students packed into Wembley Arena, energy levels were through the roof – each student hard worked hard to earn their ticket to the event by committing to one local and one global cause. The day kicked off with an introduction from Craig and Marc, and what followed was a series of inspirational speakers and performances from Rita Ora to Sohana Collins, and many more.
Our very own founders Holly Branson and Princess Beatrice took to the stage to speak about the importance of working together to create change, and about the challenges that come along with that. Sam also introduced Karl, who blew us away (yet again) with a new poem that we hope to share with you soon.
Something we noticed was that the most inspiring stories are not about those who have been the most successful, but those who have faced seemingly insurmountable challenges. We heard from Marlee Matlin, an academy award winning actress who is deaf; Mark Pollock, a blind and paraplegic adventurer; and Sohana Collins, a young girl who suffers from a debilitating skin condition called Epidermolysis Bulloma (EB).
Each of these people spoke with incredible optimism despite the challenges that life had presented to them. They had, and continue to have, all odds stacked against them, but with incredible resilience and grit they exceed the expectations that society places on people with these handicaps (or any people, for that matter). So how do they do it? How have Marlee, Mark, and Sohana achieved so much in circumstances that might cause many people to give up hope?
You can probably guess the answer. It’s the ‘M’ word that we love so much – mindset. Rather than focusing on their limitations, these people put their energy towards achieving their dreams. They do not allow their circumstances to define what they are capable of. As Marlee said,
Most people think that the handicap of being deaf is in the ears, but it isn’t. Its in the mind.
In her case, the challenge of being deaf didn’t stand in the way of her dream to become an actress, but was something that she became motivated to rise above.
The message we’re taking away
Our challenges may or may not be as big as those that Marlee, Mark and Sohana face, but they are challenges nonetheless. In life, we all hit roadblocks and face setbacks – and sometimes our tendency is to think of them as the end of our abilities. These wonderful speakers at WE Day thought otherwise, and If they aren’t proof that your mindset can help you to turn your dreams into realities, then we don’t know what is.
Mark Pollock, who lost his vision when he was a young man and became paralyzed only a few years later, summed it up for us. He has made it his mission to walk again despite being told that it was not possible, making incredible progress in this field.
Life will present you with challenges. Some you will choose, and some will choose you. It’s what you do about them that counts.
The Big Change team