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The head-shaking index - satisfy yourself, not the expectations

The more people shake their heads, the more I'm convinced that I'm on the right path. To meet expectations has never been my thing. Whether on a student exchange to Namibia, my semester abroad in London, hiking in Peru or spinning around the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile in my car, the head-shaking index has so far been my best compass. But not for the reasons most would now expect.

Not a moment's pity, please

Whenever I get up on a stage and speak in front of people who have never heard of me or about me, I sometimes receive the following feedback: "When you were announced, I expected either a typical heroic story or a sob story. I was surprised that it was about something completely different!" Yes, I love surprises. I hate routines. Boredom is a horror. And that's why I love the moment when I see the surprise in the face of the person opposite me. I was born curious with a desire for exploration.

It's not what you think

It may be tempting to believe that a man without arms and legs always wants to and has to prove that he can do what others can do. The fact that my inner drive is due to the absence of limbs. That I want to show what I can do in spite of this. Really? Of course, there was a phase in my life where I wanted to "prove" to myself that I was able to do the things that nobody thought I would be able to do. It was the time when the central question "How is it possible?” became of paramount importance to me. My delight in enjoying the extraordinary and crossing boundaries are personality traits. That’s me, Janis. Whether with or without arms, blond or dark hair, with or without glasses - I just look for exciting experiences and enjoy them. My body has only increased the playing field on which I can let off steam in this respect. Because the world makes little or no accommodation for people like me.

I appreciate the meaning of life but not recklessness

In this respect, the head-shaking index should not be considered a decision-making process. I don’t do things because or so that people will shake their heads. People shake their heads because I do what I really want to do, regardless of the patterns, expectations and beliefs of others. Yes, I do like experiences which induce a certain adrenaline kick. That makes me happy. My mind needs variety, and novelty. To achieve the best possible experience, I act consciously, take care of myself and what I need. I can't deny that I cross boundaries. But I have no interest in acting recklessly, or to put my health or life in danger by acting carelessly. The question "How is it possible?" always involves considering what I can do and what I can’t do, what I want, what I can demand of myself, because my desire for exciting moments also includes the desire to experience other exciting moments in the future.

What's your head-shaking index?

If my project is a real Janis project, then people will shake their heads. I allow myself to give in to my “crazy ideas’ and my curiosity, even if it is contrary to everyone's expectations. Only at first glance is my body an adversary to my sense of adventure and my desire to travel; in reality it is perfect for living and breathing my passion for the unusual. So what I want to encourage you to do is to follow your innate vital energy and express it; because that's the only way you will feel fulfilled and alive. It may cause people to shake their heads. But maybe your inner fire will trigger completely different responses from the people around you, and your compass will become a laughter index, an objection index or an outcry index. Don’t express something because you’re hoping for certain reactions. Instead, certain reactions will show you that you have expressed yourself. You, and no one else!

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© 2024 Janis McDavid