When I think about the actor Michael J.Fox, I smile. Is it because he’s one of the few Canadians on TV (come on who didn’t like ‘Family Ties’) or is it because his characters always exuded warmth and positivity? Mr. Fox was twenty-nine years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. How does someone find the silver lining when hearing that news at such a young age? Somehow, through it all, he has remained positive and touched many others to be optimistic in their lives.
Last week, I found out his secret. I watched his documentary called the ‘Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,’ which explored where positive energy comes from and how someone can find it themselves. I had goose bumps as he said, “I didn’t have to let the terms of the disease define me. I could redefine the terms.” I know that in some people’s lives there can come a fork in the road to survival. The decision is made to either stay positive or negative. What struck me as truly amazing was Mr. Fox’s determination to live a wonderful life, even though he was sentenced to a disease.
Michael J. Fox’s message of hope rings true to whomever he meets. One of his messages to viewers was, “Hope doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Everyone needs to help one another.” His kind of hope, sense of humor and positive outlook on life is contagious. I would spend a day with Michael J. Fox any day!
During the documentary, he interviewed people from regular cow farmers to celebrities and politicians. He asked them their thoughts on being optimistic. I loved it when Lance Armstrong said, “This is the life that I owe to cancer. I am a better athlete and person after the disease. My attitude is different.”
So today if things get tough or if you see someone having a tough time, remember you have the power to change it. As Michael J. Fox says, “Happiness is about connecting with people. Optimism is contagious.“