The Force Within – From Police officer to Paralympian is a book based on the life story of Carol Cooke from Australia. I had the privilege to publish her interview on this blog in July 2019 and you can read more about her in this post – In Conversation with Carol Cooke

I follow her blogs on LinkedIn which are crisp, short articles and have an inspiring message tugged in it. Since I like her style of writing I ordered her two books –

The Force Within:

This book narrates the life story of Carol Cooke and her family history. Carol followed her grandfather, father and mother’s tradition and joined the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force. She braved many unexpected instances while solving cases and going after criminals while in the police force.

For a change, she decided to take a break from work and travelled to Australia where she found her life partner. Unexpected circumstances developed resulting in illness in which she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She decided not to allow MS to dominate her life. Dejected and heart-broken, but stronger than before, she took charge of her lifestyle and moved forward.

She went through immense pain and frequent medical emergencies that required multiple surgeries and a long time to heal and recover which stopped her normal routine work.

Though her health issues kept recurring, Carol used the force within to convert adversity into her advantage. She took up Rowing and competed at the national level. When she felt she could do better as a Cyclist, she went on to participate in the Paralympic games and won gold medals for her country.

We all have troubles in our lives but after reading her story, I realised God has been kind to me and there are many others suffering with difficult challenges in life. The biggest takeaway from this book is ‘Never Give-up’ no matter what. Carol is a warrior, and she has proved that if we have a strong will power, we can still achieve a lot.

Finding Your Inner Gold:

In life we often hesitate to come out of our comfort zone, try something unknown, or even be scared to chase our passions. We fear failure which leads to resistance to change.

Carol Cooke in this book shows us ways of combating our inner barriers and finding our inner gold – To be open to new opportunities and adaptive to ever changing external environments.

Nine lessons I learnt from this book are –

  1. You must be clear in what your dreams and desires are and dig deep within your heart to find out ways of reaching your goals.
  2. If one thing doesn’t work, be willing to give yourself another chance and be open to change. Just as Carol tried her luck in Rowing, Swimming and ultimately found success in Cycling, things work when they have to.
  3. Health is the greatest wealth, without good health there is no point having money.
  4. To get something you never had, you must do something you never did.
  5. If you think positively, act positively, and be positive, you can’t help but succeed.
  6. Keep learning and adding knowledge to your experience, you will always come up with a fresh approach towards situations on the back of prior experiences.
  7. Master the process of positive thinking, it will help you to deal with obstacles and cross hurdles.
  8. Push through your comfort zone. Sometimes you may fail, but you will ultimately use those failures to achieve great success.
  9. Don’t be judgemental – your perceived idea of what someone is capable of may be completely wrong.

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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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