What Have You Got to Complain About?

It’s easy to complain our circumstances. But then we meet someone like Patrick Henry Hughes, our excuses evaporate. Recently, Heather Adams, one of our directors of publicity, shared this amazing video with me.

Born without eyes and with a tightening of the joints that prevents his limbs from ever straightening, Patrick has been blind and crippled from birth. Yes, despite these “disabilities,” he was playing requests on the piano at age two. As he grew older, his musical genius became evident. Along the way, he also become an accomplished trumpet player.

As I watched this video, I jotted down three take-aways:

  1. Attitude is everything. Patrick doesn’t see his physical constraints as disabilities. In fact, he refers to them as abilities. Jason Fried, in his new book, Rework, says “Constraints are advantages in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. There’s no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative.”
  2. Sometimes you just need a little help. The University of Louisville, where Patrick is a student, wanted him to play in the marching band. Only problem was that he couldn’t walk, let alone march. He was confined to a wheelchair. So, his dad agreed to attend all the practices and push him around the football field so Patrick could play his trumpet.
  3. You have to focus on what you have. Patrick says, “God made me blind and unable to walk. Big deal. He gave me the musical gifts I have and and the great opportunity I have to meet new people.” He doesn’t whine about what he doesn’t have. He is grateful for what he has. Unlike so many people today, there’s not an ounce of entitlement in his voice.

Stories like Patrick’s are inspiring. He is taking his “five loaves and two fish” and feeding a multitude with inspiration. How about you? What are you doing with what you have been given?

Question: What did you take away from this video? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Juan

    Hi mike,
    No excuses is the right word! I promise today I won't have any excuse why this or that did not happen, or why me or why, why, why?
    We forget we have everything at our disposal and we do not maximize all our the God-given talents.
    Thanks for sharing,

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It is a different perspective, isn't it. And refreshing!

  • http://twitter.com/Dedic8or @Dedic8or

    Wow, this is awesome!! Thank you for reminding me not to complain

  • http://www.katieganshert.blogspot.com Katie Ganshert

    Oh, wow, what an inspiring young man. I’m feeling very humbled right now. Thanks for this!

  • http://www.midlandjack.blogspot.com Jack Hager

    I had seen the video before, but your comments laid it out. Thanks for your ongoing ministry! I interviewed you years ago when I was with Family Life Network in New York (over the phone)…glad to still gain from your insights, observations, and thoughts…
    My recent post We've Got Company!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jack. I remember your name.

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com WomenLivingWell

    I was touched by the young man but even more touched by the father's willingness to sacrifice so much for his son!!! It makes me reflect on my own sacrifices as a mom and realize they are VERY minor! Humbling for sure – and inspiring! Thanks!
    Courtney http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com

    My recent post What's Your Family Dinner Time Like?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I could have written an entire post on his dad. What an example? Wow. That part really humbled me!

  • http://fireandhammer.blogspot.com Dennis

    Thanks for sharing this video. As someone who has often made excuses this is a real kick in the pants.
    My recent post The Pain of Recovery: A Necessary Evil for the Co-Dependent

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

    pass the tissue quick! wow! awesome story….. two words… no excuses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SwitchNGranny Martha Garrett

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring video Michael. Personally I am going to remember this before complaining,, and just maybe I WON'T!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Me, too!

  • http://d6775.typepad.com/blog/2010/03/persevering-through.html Kelley

    It's always nice to have things put into their proper perspective.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    My recent post Good News, Everyone!

  • http://www.therextras.com BarbaraBoucher PTPhD

    Thank you for this, Michael. Other inspirational video – search for The Butterfly Circus (short movie) and Aimee Mullins on TED. Very important messages in both.
    My recent post Tools of the Trade

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I need to watch the Aime Mullins talk on TED. I love their format and their content!

  • http://www.4u2live.net Peter Eleazar

    Humbling ….
    My recent post Beat the email monster (tips for survival)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    What a shining example of what love, determination, team work, and commitment can accomplish. With the help of his parents, Patrick has chosen to be an overcomer rather than a victim, and this lesson is one we all need to take to heart. As Christ once said to a father seeking help for his son, "All things are possible to him who believes." With God's promise to work good out of every circumstance in our lives, I think we would do well to look at what we can do rather than at those things that are against us.

    My recent post #38 THE DOING OF PRAYING: VICTORY


    All things are possible…period!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mattedmundson Matt Edmundson

    Awesome! Love the fact that this guy knows who God made Him to be and why – and this is what he focuses on, rather than everything else. You can't help but be inspired by him. And then there is Dad – goodness me, have I got some way to go to be a great Dad! Reminds my of Team Hoyt -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRHxHapwirw
    My recent post Talking with Orange about Apple (Macs and PCs)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I thought about Team Hoyt, too.

      I wish more news reporting was like this: amazing, inspirational stories that motivated you to stretch more.

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    Wow! Attitude surely is everything. What a great dad, too.
    My recent post God’s Sovereignty and Free Will – Part 2

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ronlane Ron Lane

    Michael, I have seen this video about three or four times. This morning as I was watching it, I was sitting with my own Son and just lost it. I think we all have to thank God everyday for what we are given and not complain about what we don't. The vast majority of us are more than capable to go out and get what we want, if we would just try it. We have no physical constraints holding us back from our goals, we just need to get out of our comfort zone and go for it.

    As I was watching this, I realized that I want to be the role model to show my children that you can get what you want to if you are willing to take a leap of faith.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and your thoughts about it as you watched it. This is a video that is worth sharing and watching over and over again as inspiration.

    My recent post Book Review: Tribes by Seth Godin

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your transparency, Ron. I lost it the first time I saw it. However, I have seen it about five times and it is ALWAYS inspiring. I just love Patrick's attitude.

  • http://relevantblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/girl-never-outgrows-need-for-daddy.html Mary DeMuth

    Ironic that today I posted on my blog about a girl never outgrowing her need for a daddy. When I see fathers sacrifice for their children, I can't help but cry, and the ache I feel resonates deeply. I stay in that sad place a few moments, wondering why my father left the earth when I was just ten years old.

    But then I stop, and remember the sacrifice of Jesus, how He carried out His Father's wishes. How He went to hell and back for my sake, for yours. And I realize that the daddy I long for is the One who sacrificed for me.
    My recent post A Girl Never Outgrows the Need for a Daddy

    • http://relevantblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/girl-never-outgrows-need-for-daddy.html Mary DeMuth

      It's also strange to me that I had a terrifying dream this morning, one related to the new memoir I'm writing about fatherlessness. Perhaps God is saying something to me today.
      My recent post A Girl Never Outgrows the Need for a Daddy

  • http://www.blog.iqmatrix.com Adam Sicinski

    I think it comes down to the fact that we must be grateful for what we have, and work every day to turn it into something special, remarkable and simply unforgettable :)
    My recent post MasterMind Matrix 2.0 Released

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MichaelSGray MichaelSGray

    I have seen this video many times, and each time I am shamed. Shamed because I have none of Patrick's limitations, but sometimes I still complain that, "if only I had __________, I could do so much more." Shamed because I sometimes see the limitations in people or circumstances instead of the opportunities to work with what's there, and achieve even greater victories. Shamed because I sometimes approach life with less joy and enthusiasm as this blind, crippled man.

    Thanks for the reminder that I really have no right to complain about the "abilities" that God has given me.

  • Amy

    His attitude is amazing. So are his God-given musical gifts! This story reminds me of one I recent saw on 60 minutes about an English man named Derek Paravicini. He is a blind autistic savant and a musical prodigy. You should check out his God given talent as well! http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/12/60minutes/main6292474.shtml

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I'll have to look that one up.

  • http://www.sowingseedsministries.com James Castellano

    I am going to gather my wife and kids together over the weekend and show this video to them. Thanks for sharing,
    My recent post leadership DNA (LDNA)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    Wow… playing the piano at 2. Truly a gift from God. His dad is amazing. As someone who works in a K-12 environment, I can tell you that having involved parents is so important for kids. It makes all the difference in the world. Definitely a humbling and powerful video.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I can't help but believe Patrick's attitude is a direct result of his dad's involvement.

  • http://rockthedesert.typepad.com marina

    I wasn't planning to weep before breakfast this morning, but something about this young man's story, has moved me profoundly. Watching him play the piano as a little baby, it's like God took away his eyesight, his ability to walk, then chose to give him a magnificent musical talent, a humble heart, breathtakingly loving parents and then has allowed the world to watch while His strength is showcased in Patrick's weakness. What we might see as a disability, a disadvantage, a mistake, a tragedy, God had planned in advance for Patrick and his family. God's ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
    My recent post Burundi via Twitter – Part 2

  • http://hookembookem.blogspot.com/ Mark Young

    This helps put everything in the right perspective. God can use us, no matter what our gifts or limitations. Thanks, Mike, for sharing this.

  • http://twitter.com/tasradawson @tasradawson

    The music of opportunity, the sound of potential… may we all listen to that melody today… may I listen and share that melody. Thank you for sharing this story.
    My recent post The Positive Effect of Negative Space in Photography & Life (D227)

  • Deanna Myers

    Thanks,Mike for sharing this inspiring message! What a beautiful example of how our Father blesses each of His children with talents and abilities. Both the ones we reconize and the ones we haven't found yet. Let us all never focus on what we may not be able to do, but the wonderful things He enables us TO DO.

  • http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com Lynn Mosher

    Woo-hoo! Now you know about our city's hero! We are so proud of Patrick. He's awesome! And so are his parents, especially his dad. Thanks, Mike, for sharing Patrick with so many others.
    My recent post Creation's First Home

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

    Awesome attitude. Where can I get some of that? Oh, yeah, it's my choice. Thanks for the inspiraiton.
    My recent post Love Mercy: A Review

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/KristineMac KristineMac

    I remember seeing this remarkable young man and his father in an interview and on a very popular home makeover program. I think learning to be happy in any circumstance is the lesson here for me and using the gifts and talents God has given for your sphere of influence, whatever that may be. Thanks for sharing this reminder :)
    My recent post Finding the Quiet Place

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/davidgurian davidgurian

    What a great reminder that God works through any situation. Thanks for posting the link. And you are totally right about attitude. 9 years ago I was temporarily disabled from an accident. I wish I could say my attitude was as good as Patrick's but it was the opposite. Here is a link to a young woman going through a difficult situation too. She needs a new heart, but somehow through all of the test, machines and complications she is using her situation as a platform to minister to the hospital staff. http://megansheartstory.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive @obihaive

    What a great dad! He really loves his kid and sacrifices a lot. But something tells me he wouldn't view it as a sacrifice at all. Wow.

  • Bianca

    What did I take away from this video?

    I don't know! I can't stop crying.

    This was so beautiful and inspiring and humbling.
    My recent post post-it project…

  • http://cfpagels.blogspot.com Carrie Pagels

    I love your takeaways from this. You really boiled it down to the bottom line. This young man is an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing! Carrie

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Very inspiring. Reminds me some of Nick Vujicic (Life without Limbs). He’s also taken his disadvantages and turned them into advantages. I have a quote from him I keep close… “I’d be dishonoring God if I didn’t believe I was here to change the world.” If people like Nick and Patrick can overcome than certainly we can too. I see these stories and it reminds me just how small my “false” limitations really are. The music of opportunity. The sound of potential.

    BTW… I have an author with a book entitled “The No Complaining Rule.” In part it speaks to finding positive solutions to the trap of mindless complaining. It’s more directed at turning complaining into solutions in the workplace but it’s a universal message we can all adopt. Complaining is a choice.

  • Anne Marie

    Attitude is indeed everything – what an inspiration these two are – the deeply loved son as well as the deeply loving father! Thank you for sharing this. God bless them and you.

    Anne Marie :)

  • Anne Marie

    Attitude is indeed everything – what an inspiration these two are – the deeply loved son as well as the deeply loving father! Thank you for sharing this. God bless them and you.____Anne Marie :)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fjnunes Filipe

    I love when his dad says, "He is my hero". You can tell that he means it. I know I was encouraged and challenged to skip the excuses and, like they said, see the possibilities.

  • http://rockinapond.wordpress.com Mason Stanley

    One of many take aways for me is, you must be able to roll with it. His father's quote, "We won't be able to play baseball but we'll be able to play music together" struck a cord. Those who can take less than ideal circumstances and create better than could have been imagined situations are those who are not permantitly bound to their initial expectations. Agility proves more useful than bulk more often than not. Thank you for sharing this!
    My recent post There’s only 1 Heaven…

  • http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com Patricia Stoltey

    Patrick could have all the musical talent in the world but without his upbeat attitude and his angelic smile, he wouldn't make nearly as many friends as he's clearly made. This young man is a winner!
    My recent post My Favorite Color is Yellow

  • Pingback: Video: Patrick was born blind and still does it. What have you got to complain about? « Josh Loves Jen()

  • http://www.inceptsaves.com Becky Weiand

    Never give up on yourself!! That is the most important lesson I take away from this! If you have a dream you can reach it!! I am going to think twice before complaining about any situation I am in going forward!!

  • John

    Inspiring! its all about the goals we have. Situations and Boss become irrelevant. Kind of reminds me of this video.http://www.vineetnayar.com/the-irrelevant-boss/

  • Stephanie

    Though familiar with Patrick's story, what a sweet reminder that when faced with adversity we have a choice to see obstacles or opportunities. As my friend, Coach Kay Yow, used to say "When life kicks you, let it kick you forward."

  • http://www.deanbreaker.com/ Amy

    Attitude is indeed everything – what an inspiration these two are – the deeply loved son as well as the deeply loving father! Thank you for sharing this. God bless them and you.____Anne Marie :)

  • http://www.yams.com TomPier

    great post as usual!

  • http://youthnativity.org Christopher Wesley

    I really took away a lot from the father.  The joy he gets despite the sacrifice speaks volumes.  And how inspired he is by his son, just blows me away.  The story is a true blessing.

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