Michael J. Fox’s 6 Rules for Surviving Adversity

Most of us know Michael J. Fox’s story. A huge talent stricken with Parkinson’s disease at a young age, but yet he soldiers on with his career.

I recently read an interview he did with AARP magazine and I think his 6 rules for surviving adversity apply equally as well to we cancer survivors.

Here are Michael’s 6 rules. . .

Exercise. “We’ve learned it will prolong your ability to operate positively in the world.” Research shows that exercise helps to prevent cancer and cancer recurrence.

Pacing. “It helps me think – the physical motion creates intellectual motion.”

Acceptance. “It isn’t resignation, and it freed me to actively deal with and endeavor to change my situation. I like to say, ‘My happiness goes in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.’ ”

Honesty. “It was empowering to have people understand what I was going through – I immediately felt better.”

Optimism. “I hate when people say, ‘You’re giving them false hope.’ To me, hope is informed optimism.”

Humor. “I laugh at [my involuntary movements and the scenes they create.] There are times when I love these things.”

My Approach to Cancer

It took me a year to come to grips with my cancer diagnosis and treatment. At the end of those 12 months I realized that I had been blessed with an early diagnosis and treatment and that it was up to me to do what I could to reduce the cancer death toll.

So, I just started talking about my prostate cancer whenever I could. I rode my motorcycle from Los Angeles to Washington, DC and back, talking to men at Harley-Davidson dealerships, radio and TV stations that would listen, and installing a memorial brick in the sidewalk at the annual Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD.

Along the way I created an early detection system for prostate cancer – www.ProstateTrackerApp.com – and wrapped my Honda Element and Mazda MX-5 so they are rolling reminders about the need for testing and early detection of cancer.

I’m “all in” with talking to people about my cancer experience and how they can reduce their risk.

You may not feel comfortable going as far as I did, but take a look at Michael’s approach and see what might help you.

Picture of Robert Warren Hess
#stopcancer autocross challenge