Near Death Lessons
By Chris Jankulovski
Chris Jankulovski was already leading a restless childhood when at 16 he developed eye tumors that lead to disfiguring laser surgery. Still coming to terms with this new life, tragedy would strike once again when he is diagnosed with the rare Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, a disease that often causes fatal cancers before age 30.
Angry and longing for an escape, he turns to drinking, drugs, and daring trips all the while asking himself “What are you doing with your life?” Finally, at age 24, Chris decides to put the entrepreneurial skills he saw in himself years ago to work and while there were both successes and failures, he celebrates his 30th birthday by thriving and proving the doctors wrong, at least for a while.
Chris’s health problems continue to persist and grow, he develops a brain tumor and his kidneys start to fail. Undeterred, he takes a year off to travel, meet the love of his life, and start a successful business and a family. Although his health challenges persist and often necessitate life-threatening operations, his family’s support gives him the strength to keep going and strive to be the best.
He is now on a mission to turn his worst days into his best and share the lessons he has learned from his near-death experiences. This is an excerpt from the book Near Death Lessons that he waited 6 years to share with the world. His hope is that it provides motivation and inspiration for anyone facing adversity.
Excerpt from Near Death Lessons
The uncomfortable truth is that at some point in our lives, things will go wrong. We all may eventually face serious adversity, often at unexpected times. For me, the adversity was extreme: the after- math of my brain surgery and the painful road to rehabilitation that I described in chapter 12. I had to accept my new reality and shift my focus to what I could do.
Here are four powerful steps to help you flourish through adversity.
Accept your reality
Even if you’re not in a crisis or facing adversity, but are simply trying to improve your life, first be willing to see things as they are in today’s reality—not your version of reality—to correctly inter- pret the situation you are in.
After you’ve acknowledged your current reality without your biases, the next step is the most significant one toward healing, or for progress to occur. You need to accept your current reality by:
Accepting what you cannot control first; and
Accepting responsibility for the outcomes.
For me, the first step is often the harder one. It took me two months just to accept the reality I was in after my brain operation. The moment I did, I shifted my focus from my overwhelming list of adversities to what I could control. Accepting my new reality empowered me to actively take on my adversities, one small step at a time.
Take time out; stop everything for a while
It takes time to recover from hardships and failures. Such moments often force us to stop. It is essential that we do stop everything during these times, so our minds can be fully aware and process what happened. This often involves a full mental review of everything we may hold as truth. You may question everything: your assumptions, your beliefs, your worldview. I call this moment a mental reboot. It takes a lot of mental energy as most of it happens unconsciously. Eventually, your consciousness will become aware of the inward changes you have made. It’s a grounding experience.
During this time out you gain new self-knowledge and per- spectives of what is important in your life and what really matters to you. Adversities can potentially make massive lifelong changes in all aspects of our lives, changes that are far greater than the adversity itself.
Shift your focus toward what you can do
The energy you spend complaining all day about your problems has no pay-off, no joy, no vitality. It’s a limiting experience. That same energy could be spent on solving the problem. All you need to do is:
Shift your focus away from the past and focus on what you can control today.
Be resolved in exactly what you want.
Look for possibilities or ways you can deal with the issue.
Take small steps daily. Eventually, you will surprise yourself with how far you can go.
Actively maintain hope
The future is unknown, so why assume the worst when you could choose to hope that the best is yet to come? It all comes down to the choice you make as to how you want to see things and what you want to believe in.
Practice your new thoughts over a period, to reinforce new patterns that drive your actions, habits, thoughts, and behaviors. Eventually, your old thoughts will
2. Our unconscious mind communicates via feeling to our intuition, so trust your intuition. It’s often more powerful than you realize.
It takes courage and faith to hope that the best is yet to come when everything seems hopeless. But hope can give you the energy you need to take action. With more hope, you are more likely to do more. Hope, faith, gratitude, and work—combined—can lead to miracles occurring.
When you choose to actively maintain hope, regardless of the outcome, you become more certain in yourself, in God, or in the universe. Even if you are dying and your time is limited, maintaining hope with gratitude allows you to appreciate your remaining days.
Chris Jankulovski is the author of Near Death Lessons. He is also the Founder and CEO of Remote Staff, specializing in remote working placements. Remarkably, Chris was able to grow this thriving business while battling cancer, failing kidneys and numerous brain operations. Chris found a way to transform his life from fear and self-doubt to empowerment, success and happiness.