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“Always be grateful and hungry for improvement”

Since he was 1 year old, Enhamed Enhamed (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1987) started to progressively lose his vision, due to a glaucoma. By the time when he was 8, blindness became total, although he expresses that dramatic reality in quite a revealing manner: “I won blindness”. A year later, he discovered swimming, something that changed his whole life forever: in the water he could feel safe and free, so he transferred that intimate, grateful glance to every area of his life. He became a Paralympic multimedalist -including five golds in Pekin 2008-, sports coach and motivational speaker. And he will take part in the multiconference event organised by De los Pies a la Cabeza.

  • What is real darkness?

Literally speaking, the absence of light… But in my experience, darkness doesn’t really  exist, since my brain constantly generates a picture of what is going on around. Maybe in    the  evening,  lights turned off  in my  room,  the  brain  somehow  perceives more  darkness, but it is never full darkness. Real darkness, for me, comes with silence. People usually relax by setting a quiet environment, but I get that feeling when I’m surrounded by the noise of nature, by people, by life itself… Silence, for me, is the total absence of everything.

  • And when is a person really blind?

When we are not able to see how good there is in our lives. When we can’t see beyond the circumstances that keep us from going forward. And mainly when we don’t see that we are much bigger than those circumstances. Besides, that kind of blindness tends to affect the people around us too, since we transfer it from ourselves to the others. Someone unable to realize his full potential won’t be able to see any potential in me either.

  • As the song goes, there is a light that never goes out… There is more out there than we can actually

There is always a light, no doubt, even if we can’t see it. There is a light in the things we do, in the words we say. Very often I listen to speeches that sound great, they sound appealing… but there’s no light at all in them.

  • What kind of words can enlighten us?

The ones that convey a clarity of thinking and a clarity of intentions.

  • And how does a person with your experience successfully pass those messages on to other people?

You need to communicate well, but above all you need to feel Otherwise you can’t pass your message on to your audience. People who feel what they’re saying, those are the ones who make the difference.

  • “I don’t grow in age, I grow in goals”, is one of your

You either add years to your life or you add life to your years. Setting goals is what takes you forward and keeps you focused all along. Goals help you to add life to every year. People often say: “I have ten years of experience in whatever…”, but when you look into it turns out it is the same year ten times.

  • How do you fight that?

Sometimes we unwantedly yield to automatisms, habits, and we let ourselves go by doing the same things all the time, see the same people, talk about the same stuff… All that keeps you from growing. Our brain needs new experiences or it will switch off to save resources. Brain is all about economizing.

Enhamed Enhamed

  • You talk a lot about How would you define and apply it to everyday’s life?

Resilience is the ability to overcome what happens to us. Not only to
return to the state we were in before, but even taking the advantage to
improve it. The force running underneath has to be gratitude. If you don’t appreciate what you have and the situation you live at every moment -which relates to the real blindness we talked about before- then you will never find any good in what you have. Things are not good or bad: they just are. Some circumstances can lead to doubt, but we have a brain and we are supposed to use it and decide what we make off those circumstances.

  • You had to face blindness while still being a And found your way in the most hostile of environments… water.

Sounds like a paradox, yes, but water gives me so much freedom… There are no obstacles in it, especially if you swim in a pool: you can be sure it is 25m or 50m long, you know what you will find. I was a very active kid, always running around and into walls, so water gave me a freedom of movement that I couldn’t find on the ground. It became my   salvation, a real path to follow.

  • One can’t imagine how hard acceptance is a case like

Nobody can get in your shoes. We just can’t imagine what it’s like not having arms or being blind or stuck in a wheelchair; not even if we get our two arms plastered. The brain is smart and it knows that the situation is temporary. It took me many years to understand how different an amateur blind person is from a professional blind. The amateur is that person who is blindfolded and tries to imagine what it feels like; it is nice of them since there is the intention to empathize with what we go through… but it just doesn’t work like that. Their perception does not match reality. So they can’t really make an accurate judgement about what I can or can’t do being a blind person. This is when that saying really applies: “We all are the average of the five people we have closer”. You need to be careful who those persons are, since they’re gonna transfer their fears and worries onto you. It doesn’t matter if they do that out of love, denial or imposition: because they love you, they long to protect you. And at the end of the day, overprotection kills the person.

  • What is the central message you want to send to your audiences?

Always be eager for improvement. Every day try  to do something better than yesterday. That applies to anything: sports, studies, your job, life in couple… Never settle yourself, since settlement is a small death. We don’t naturally achieve all this, so we need to set  goals and the habits to meet them; and make sure we have the right people around. And above all, always show gratitude for what we get in life. I have this daily routine to sit  down every morning and put on paper the three things I feel grateful about from the day before. No matter how dark or tough  it may have been: you need to find the things you    are thankful for. Without gratefulness, you will be building out of necessity. And that just does  not work.

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