“Life has so many opportunities! But it’s you – and nobody else – who determines what’s possible for you. Don’t let others limit your goals and dreams.”
Aron Anderson was struck by cancer when he was seven years old. He’s been in a wheelchair since he was nine. But that hasn’t stopped him from doing what he loves – to participate in the Paralympics, climb the Kebnekaise, swim across the Sea of Åland, ski the Vasaloppet, bike to Paris… The list of his incredible adventures is long.
In Opportunities, he tells all about his amazing adventures and his career as an athlete. About how he’s succeeded – and failed. And about his model, the seven steps, which is the secret of his success. A model that you can also use to achieve your goals.
Opportunities will be available in stores August 2017.
I’ve now read your book in one sitting and am very impressed, both with you and the book. I’ve copied down the ‘to think about’ boxes and saved them to my phone so I can read them at any time. Even my 12-year-old daughter who’s doing horse jumping has read the book, and she’s gotten an entirely different mindset regarding training and competition, and believes in herself and her pony in a completely different way.
I just wanted to write and tell you that I’ve read your book, Opportunities – so incredibly inspiring! To dare to follow your dreams, even though others say “you can’t do it.” I’ve told almost everyone I know about your book and I warmly recommend them to read it!
Excerpt from the book
The world doesn’t owe you anything
It’s easy to get bitter when life gives you lemons. But instead of being bitter, I’ve chosen to be grateful for what I have. The world doesn’t owe me anything. Instead, I choose to see it as I owe the world something, just for having been fortunate enough to have been born. I owe the world to do my best, to live a full life and to give back as much as I can.
In the fall of 2015, I gave a speech to a large gathering of young people who would be confirmed in the Church of Sweden the next summer. The talk took place in a large and beautiful church. Whenever I arrive at a place where I’m supposed to give a talk, I start with connecting my computer to check that the projector and other devices are operating correctly.
This day, a janitor at the church helped me get set up. Once everything was in place and working, we started talking about other things. I quickly found out that he was a former pastor, but that he’d been forced to take a break from the profession when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Now, he worked part-time as a janitor in the church.
Given that he had recently gone through some tough treatments, he seemed to be unusually alert and happy, so I asked what his trick was. He told me that gratitude was very important to him. To not take things for granted, but to be happy and grateful for what you have instead of being bitter about what you lack.
The pastor told me that he’d previously worked in hospitals and prisons. He said that it was among the hardest things you could do as a pastor, for both those in hospital and those incarcerated have unlimited time to think. They can think all day about themselves, their faith, and everything else under the sun. In order to successfully reach them as a pastor and counselor, it’s important to know your stuff, or they’ll quickly see right through you.
One story that the pastor told me really etched itself into my memory. At one time he worked at a children’s hospital and a little girl asked to talk to him. He knew that the girl had cancer and would soon die, so he prepared himself for a tough conversation. After talking for a while, the girl finally asked the pastor:
“Why do I have to die?”
The pastor replied that he didn’t know why, upon which the girl became angry and furious with him. A week later, the girl wanted to meet and talk with the pastor again. After the girl’s emotional outburst at their first meeting, the pastor had thought he wouldn’t ever see her again. Once inside her hospital room full of tubes and devices, the girl says:
“Do you remember that I asked you why I had to die?”
And then the girl says something that it takes most of us a lifetime to understand:
“The world doesn’t owe me anything.”
After many days of brooding, the girl had solved the puzzle and had come up with a truth that was right for her. She realized that the world didn’t owe her anything. She had no more right to live or die than anyone else.
When I think back on my childhood and how miraculously I survived cancer, I don’t know why I did it. Many other children in my hospital ward with similar diagnoses didn’t.
But I did. Why did I, specifically, get sick? I don’t know that either. But I know one thing. I survived. I was allowed the privilege to go on living.