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A Book About Self-Love

“Yes I Can!” shares your life experiences growing up with conditions that other people consider a disability that you turned into a positive experience. Why was this an important book for you to write?

The incredible adversity we face — whether an illness, injury, divorce, physical or mental challenges, or other trauma — can be an opportunity for personal and intellectual growth.  We first develop a path to rise above these obstacles, replace self-doubt with confidence, and realize our potential.  Most of us sadly define ourselves by the adversity we face, not how we rise above them.  Many teens, young adults, and parents of special needs kids become frustrated, anxious, or depressed because they often feel so alone when, in reality, they are loved more than they can possibly know. This is essentially a book about self-love and loving others unconditionally: the greatest gift we can share in our lives!  Every chapter ends on an uplifting, even triumphant, note that demonstrates the ways our lives can also be fantastic dreams.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

My own experiences with bullying was, surprisingly, one of the more difficult anecdotes for me to write.  When the bully dumped me in the garbage can and then paraded me around the high-school cafeteria, I learned to love, forgive, and eventually make friends with those who once bullied me.  Rather than stooping to his level and responding in anger and frustration at the moment, I felt empathy inside and chose to bring the former bully up to my attitude.  I would not have been able to do this without the love and self-discipline infused in me by my parents and family.  The important lesson is to learn and change from our mistakes.  Sharing this experience with audiences and now readers, even with all its horrors, has been enriching.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

Mom and Dad taught me the benefits of wanting to learn about others.  Our grandparents and elders are filled with a wealth of life stories and wisdom which we don’t often appreciate until they are sadly no longer with us.  Children and teens who walk through the school entrance each morning represent more than themselves during the school day; they also represent their families and perspectives.  When we learn about our differences, we become more comfortable around those who are different from us in culture, heritage, and disability.  The accompanying fear can be often transformed into love, respect, and even admiration!  As I shared in the book, letting go of this fear, in effect, ushers in a future of hope.  

For example, in college and graduate school, I would scan around the dining hall and choose to dine with a fellow student who was eating alone (but whom I did not know) and inquire about their hometown, major, classes, and interests.  I often knew what it felt like to eat alone and did not want others to experience the accompanying negative emotions.  We were students at the same university and even living in the same zip code for four years, so why did we need to be strangers?  So the next time when they see me eating alone, they often come over with their friends and join me for a meal.  Learning about the experiences of others teaches us about our own lives and perspectives.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

Their positive attitude can change the world.  In the closing chapter, I emphasize the importance of ensuring the sun rises and sets with YOU.  In other words, never let your attitude become a disability.  Your sun, high in the sky, represents those times when your future looks so bright and promising.  But realize that there will be other moments when your sun abruptly sets, ushering in a period of nightfall accompanied by looming feelings of frustration, depression, or despair.  At that time, you cannot allow your self-esteem to plummet, losing sight of the future.  Keep your gaze focused towards the east, for the sun has to rise again. This is your incredible life journey and it can be an uplifting experience of growth and optimism!

If your readers feel renewed and inspired upon reading this book, it’s no surprise.  I have been a motivational speaker for the past 42 years, since age 10!  Reading this self-help memoir is like experiencing one of my presentations first-hand.  Your emotions are taken on a roller-coaster ride, from frustration,  reflection, humor, joy, and ultimately, triumph.  This is the triumph of the human spirit, and I hope every reader can experience this.

Many thanks to Literary Titan for their generous review and interview questions. 

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | YouTube Interview

READERS: For parents and educators of special needs kids as well as teens and young adults. This is a self-help book from a leading motivational speaker and disability advocate whose story can inspire us to dream, achieve, and succeed.

Have you wondered why dreams seem to be running away from you and into the arms of someone else? When an illness, injury, disability, divorce, or other traumatic experience forces us to re-evaluate our future as we walk an uncertain path, we often find ourselves asking, “Why me?” How do we overcome the darkness and feelings of fear, doubt, and anxiety?

Paul Wichansky has cerebral palsy and a hearing loss. Conquering these challenges to lead a confident, productive life, he shows, by example, how we can transform such obstacles into opportunities for growth. His disabilities have not only inspired him to rise above tremendous adversity, but also achieve beyond what others believed he could do.

Each chapter focuses on a principle of self-improvement, such as self-love, a positive attitude, support group, self-esteem, perseverance, resilience, and empathy, which he embeds in captivating anecdotes. For instance, the chapter on positive attitude recalls moments of optimism and laughter that have helped him reject the effects of his disabilities by developing complete confidence in his abilities. Though written from a first-person point-of-view, he switches to the second-person narrative near the end of each chapter to offer readers strategies to adopt that guiding principle into their lives.

A master storyteller whose anecdotes combine character, optimism, and heart, he shows his readers, by example, how to face adversity and become the Heroes we all know they can be. Only then can we become the epic version of ourselves.

Let this book be a worthy addition to your home or school library. For shining your light is spreading your love.
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