Doing the best with what life hands you – an inspirational story

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When a tragedy strikes – in the world or in our lives – it can leave us feeling helpless. But the one thing we can always control is how we respond. This is the story of Nitin Madhav and his inspiring response to a tragedy that occurred in his life.

Nitin is the officer-in-charge for Cambodia at the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. Nitin has responded to crises all over the world and speaks an astounding ten languages.

Nitin was working for a medical NGO in Rwanda in the late 1990s when he and his co-workers were taken hostage by a group of armed insurgents. In my interview, Nitin tells his story, how he recovered, and why he decided to return to Afghanistan just a few years later and with a prosthetic leg. Click the video below to watch.

Buddha teaches that “to be human is to suffer.” What that means is we know tragedies and hard times will be a part of life. But our power lies in how we manage them. Nitin was shot and lost a leg in Rwanda, but that didn’t deter him from following his dream of helping people in Afghanistan. In his words, “a [tragic event] is only life changing if you make it be that.”

Post a comment: How have you grown from a difficult experience? What was your biggest lesson?

Your challenge: Consider a difficult period in your life. List the ways you grew as a person or how people came together to help you. Can you feel some gratitude for that difficult experience for making you a stronger person today?

I love offering you stories of peace with lessons that hopefully help you in some way. In return, I’d be grateful if you “liked” this post and shared it with a few friends. And subscribe to Shanti Pax to receive inspirational stories of peace with lessons you can apply to your life.

Remember, it’s the little changes we make in our daily life that brings greater peace to the whole.

7 replies
  1. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Wonderful interview! Allyson and Nitin, how great to listen to your thoughtful discourse. And Nitin, what a gentle reminder not to compare ourselves to others and “sally forth”. Thank you. Ellen

  2. laurie
    laurie says:

    Great work Allyson and Nitin. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and learning a piece of your experience Nitin. I love your disposition that tragedies big or small are what you make them. Life changing if you make it be that or perhaps an inconvenience that you deal with and carry on.

    • Allyson
      Allyson says:

      Laurie, thanks so much for this kind note. I love how you frame it. I believe it’s easier to recover when you view a tragedy as an inconvenience than life changing. Life is always changing, right??

  3. Mindi
    Mindi says:

    What an incredible story! I always say, you have to make the best out of the cards you’re dealt! My brother, like Nitin, was a prime example of this. He was diagnosed with cancer at age 5, cured at 13, re diagnosed with another form of cancer at age 16. He lived several months in a hospital, went into remission, and the cancer relapsed in April before he graduated high school. He was given 3 weeks to live. Nitin said, “you can’t compare yourself to anyone else” and that was Max. He wanted 3 weeks in school with his friends and to graduate. He wanted to be a typical 18 year old. He was at peace and demonstrated an incredible amount of strength one can only imagine! He passed away a week after he walked across the stage and received his diploma! I was 21 the day he died, and vowed to live my life to the “Max!” I love what Nitin said about living your best with what life hands you! That was Max’s motto and has become mine! Thank you for such an inspirational interview!

  4. Allyson
    Allyson says:

    Wow, Mindi. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for opening your heart to share Max’s story. What a remarkable display of strength and inner peace.

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  1. […] be a victim: When you allow yourself to become a victim, you give away your power to this label. I interviewed Nitin Madhav who was shot in Rwanda while working for a medical NGO and rejected the idea of being a victim and had this to say about […]

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