There is a lot to be gained from individual growth and accomplishment, but something magical seems to happen when we come together for a common goal. Teamwork can bring out the best in us, allowing us to share and benefit from each other’s strengths and making even the steepest of challenges seem possible to overcome.

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I have come to admire many historic duos and teams over the years, but they all pale in comparison to Jia Haixia and Jia Wenqi, two Chinese men who have redefined teamwork.

Jia Wenqi lost both of his arms while still just a child, and sixteen years ago his best friend, Jia Haixia, lost his eyesight. Despite these two seemingly hopeless physical barriers, the pair have collectively planted over 10,000 trees around their village of Yeli, China to help the environment.

The YouTube channel Great Big Story put together a powerful short video titled “I Am His Hands. He Is My Eyes” telling the remarkable story of these two friends:

What’s Your Excuse?

Many of us are closely acquainted with excuses. We all have changes we’d like to make, goals we’d like to accomplish, and places we’d like to see, but we also have a full arsenal of excuses primed and ready to help us avoid actually putting in the work.

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Some common examples include:

  • “It was a long day.”
  • “I can’t do that.”
  • “Next month/year I’m going to start…”
  • “When I have ________ together, I’ll do _________.”
  • “It would never work out.”

No matter how many of these you do or don’t relate to, we all regularly use excuses to get out of challenging ourselves to be the best that we can be.

I know we all have varying degrees of hardship in our lives that make the pursuit of particular goals difficult, but I’d be stunned if any of us could outmatch those being faced by Jia Haixia and Jia Wenqi. Yet they have pushed through their limitations in order to realize their goals — goals which, incidentally, are entirely selfless, generating them neither money nor any other (tangible) benefits.

So the next time you find yourself holding back from going after something you’d like to accomplish, take a moment to really  consider your excuses and determine whether or not they still hold up. Chances are, you’re lacking the desire to see things through, not a path you can actually navigate.

Appreciate Right Now

The other lesson I drew from this video is the importance of appreciating this moment and everything that I have access to. It’s easy to get caught up in what we’re lacking, but it’s just as easy to be grateful for what we have.

No matter how bad things may seem right now, things can always get worse, and we shouldn’t have to be faced with that worse scenario to appreciate the life we have now. Shifting your attitude and choosing how you want to view the world is the most powerful step you can take toward being truly happy.


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