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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Lecture focuses on overcoming adversity

Photo by Photo by: Kevin Chou

John Register spoke to students about overcoming adversity on Tuesday

After the amputation of his left leg, All-American track star and Olympic-hopeful John Register pushed through the tragedy to find a “new normal” — a message he shared at his lecture “Overcoming Adversity” Wednesday. 

Register won the Paralympic silver medal in long jump four years after his accident and now owns Inspired Communications International, a company that provides motivational speeches and presentations to businesses, schools, non-profits and athletic teams. Wednesday’s lecture, “Overcoming Adversity,” encouraged students to accept change and learn how to move forward after difficult life circumstances. 

Register’s speech was interactive — only a few minutes into his presentation he had the audience members  partner up for a quick activity and make sound effects to go along with his story. The main theme throughout the presentation was that change in one’s life may seem impossible to overcome at first, but can actually be an opportunity.

“In change, the first thing we do is resist it,” Register said. “The second thing is we face it and get so close that we can’t see the entire outcome of the change. And in change we are always looking to lose something. What is my fear of losing? In leadership, true leaders will always find the opportunity.”

Register said he coped with the loss of his leg by surrounding himself with people who would help him succeed.

“I don’t believe that I overcame my disability. If I overcame the amputation I would have my leg back. What I overcame was all the negative stigma,” Register said. “Our faith, our family, our friendship equals our freedom and our liberation. We have to surround ourselves with people who will not allow us to fail.” 

In a Q&A session after the lecture, one student asked Register what he hoped the audience would take away from his speech.

“The one big thing that I would like you to take away from this presentation is that there is no linear path. You have a goal. You have a direction that you want to go, but rarely will the path be a linear direction,” Register said. “It’s kind of like the stock market, right? From the 1930s to now there have been ups and downs in the market, but the trajectory is always going up.”

General studies sophomore Kezli Cook said she found Register’s speech inspirational. 

“For me I loved when he said that being a leader does not mean you’re any better than anyone else,” Cook said. “He humbled himself to say to look for the good in other people. He also declared his faith in the Lord and said that that’s where he got his strength from. He’s used his disability to be a leader even more so than he could have done himself.”

International studies freshman Jessica Brady said she appreciated many aspects of Register’s lecture.

“I enjoyed when John Register said to really find out what you want to do, and to inspire not only yourself but others, and his message on overcoming challenges,” Brady said.

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