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Life lessons

ByMartin Smith |947 views |Inspiration

Life lessons a visual presentation created with Haiku Deck, free presentation software that's simple, beautiful, and fun.

Presentation Outline

  1. 1. Life lessons

    Cancer as Teacher, Coach, Mentor

    When I heard "cancer" and my name in the same sentence for the first time nearly ten year ago I wish I could tell you I was open to learning life lessons. Not so much. Mostly I panicked for close to a year. Then I read Things That Scare Us by Pema Chodron and the Power of Now by Eckert Tolle and had my first round of chemo. Life sped up and slowed down simultaneously and I tried to remember to take notes. Here are some of those notes.

  2. 2. life

    Life Isn't What You Think

    I will never forget how on that day, the Friday afternoon I found out I had cancer, the feeling that things I thought were so important such as career and money weren't important at all. Things I'd always taken for granted such as family and friends were suddenly very important. The most important things in surviving cancer are your friends and family.

    Photo by ✿ SUMAYAH © ²º¹³

  3. 3. love

    More Important Than You Know

    I remember sitting in the cancer ward amazed at how many people hugged each other. Then I got it. You do things NOW when you have cancer. You show appreciation NOW. You hug NOW. Tomorrow is promised to no man, so we cancer patients show our appreciation and love NOW.

    Photo by ixus eyes

  4. 4. happiness

    Easier Than You Imagine

    Being unhappy is such a waste of time. You have lots of reasons to BE unhappy, but to give in and be unhappy is to waste TIME.

    Photo by Wouter de Bruijn

  5. 5. fear

    Never happens NOW

    Fear is a natural human reaction that protects us. Problem is fear is also a huge time waster. Can't afford it. There is too much to do. That sounds like I didn't spend a year bouncing back and forth between every Kubler-Ross stage of grief: DABDA Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance

  6. 6. now

    Where Life Really Happen

    Fear only exists when you pull in either the past or the future. There is no fear in this moment now. By being more disciplined abut NOW fear eased.

    Photo by fakelvis

  7. 7. anger

    ANGER Is Created By US

    Anger is the biggest time waster of all. Wish I could tell you my last angry day was the day I heard I was a cancer fellow traveler...Not So Much. But working on it.

  8. 8. judge

    Judge LESS, Live More

    Judgement robs our ability to collaborate and love. Judge less, live more.

    Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives

  9. 9. toxic

    Toxins Over Side of Balloon

    I had to make a decision about what information I would let into my life. As a friend likes to say all energy had to go to my shields. There was no time to carry any toxic water from any source. I stopped watching the news and found other ways to be informed (web, social nets, friends). The news is so focused on the negative, if it bleeds it leads, that it was toxic an had to go. I stopped watching CNBC in the morning for much the same reason. I made it a point to find things, especially in the morning, that could set a positive tone for the day.

    Photo by Thales

  10. 10. curate

    Feed Your Head

    Making the decision to actively curate my head, to filter what got in. Was very important to surviving and getting through.This meant I had to let go of several negative people. Friends who were always looking on the dark side had to go. The battle is all consuming. There isn't time for people who can't climb the mountain with you, who can't support, encourage and be positive. That sounds harsh and selfish and it is, but some people are better at these kinds of emergencies than other and YOU don't have time to train. You only have time for one thing - survival.

    Photo by peregrine blue

  11. 11. think

    Think & Be Positive

    THINKING gets harder. Emotions want to run away with your life. Emotions are important as they allow us to SHOW what we are feeling, but emotions in a time like this can run away with the game. All logic can go out the window and fear and emotion can take over. Don't let it or wrest control back when it happens since THINKING is precious and "chemo brain" is real (you won't be able to think when chemo hits).

    Photo by dtomaloff

  12. 12. Fake It

    Fake It Until You Make It

    As important as authenticity is to a cancer patient there are times when you have to fake it until you make it. If you are stuck in depression fake happiness until happiness vanquishes depression. If you are a caregiver for a cancer patient faking it until you make it can be important. Don't be HAPPY someone you love has cancer but be HAPPY they are with you today, be happy about what is happening now. Your mood, ideas and psychological state transfers energy. Energy is critical, so be sure to transfer the good kind.

    Photo by itonys

  13. 13. magic

    FIND Create Share

    One way I pulled out of my depression was to identify a lifelong mission - riding a bicycle across America - and setting the planning and training in process to achieve that mission. That meant quitting my job and taking a huge risk, but my thinking was what could be riskier than what I was already dealing with? Answer - Nothing :).

    Photo by

  14. 14. Was/is

    What Was Complex Now Simple & Vice Versa

    The things I THOUGHT were complex became so easily in a second. Things I thought mattered didn't at all. Things I took for granted or thought were simple weren't nearly as easy as I'd assigned them.

    Photo by Rd. Vortex

  15. 15. normal

    You aren't the same, but who is?

    One of the most important ideas is to recognize YOU are not YOU anymore. You are now YOU post cancer and that is a very different you. I had to learn to get GOOD at something we are all pretty LOUSY at - asking for help. I had to accept that I wasn't the same person and that was okay.

  16. 16. time

    Suddenly Valuable

    I try to NEVER take time for granted, but some backsliding always happen. We naturally assume things like tomorrow. Tomorrow is an assumption that fuels misalignment because we do things that assume tomorrow is guaranteed and granted. Not so much as it turns out. Live your life as if tomorrow is NOT assumed or granted and your priorities will be aligned and should something dramatic happen you will be ready, prepared and capable.

    Photo by

  17. 17. stuff

    Doesn't Matter

    Stuff like what kind of car you drive or home you live in doesn't matter at all the instant you hear cancer and your name in the same sentence. I didn't care all that much about those things before, but they instantly stopped having any meaning that day. You also realize that your STUFF requires so much WORK to curate, move and transfer around that it steals energy. I sold my house and anything that wasn't nailed down, put the money into the Story of Cancer foundation, our 501c3 nonprofit and am so glad I did.

    Photo by The Snappy Canadian

  18. 18. service


    One of the things that had value and surprised me was how important the people I've helped in some way were and became. Helping people provided a reason to LIVE and FIGHT. There were days I couldn't help myself much less anyone else, but the idea of service felt like an important mission - a mission that helped keep me alive.

    Photo by SchuminWeb

  19. 19. need

    Have What You Need

    I learned this idea from Dr. Wayne Dyer. He shared a funny story about how his daughter used his words against him. She wanted to be a singer and do an album and needed money. She pitched him and he reminded her she already had everything she needed and she responded she knew and that was why she was asking him for the cash. He wrote the check.

    Photo by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)

  20. 20. imagination

    and Creativity Are Important

    Parsing cancer treatment takes intelligence, imagination and creativity. You need to have more brains than just yours evaluating what you are hearing too. Once you have the facts don't hesitate to combine them in some unique way. I asked my oncologist if he could treat me as if riding a bicycle across America was the most important thing not longevity. Yes was his simple answer and that is exactly what he did. Within 5 days of returning from Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer I was in chemo again and this time for the BIG ONE.

    Photo by photonburst

  21. 21. money

    Doesn't Matter, But Cancer Is Expensive

    Photo by kevin dooley

  22. 22. tools

    More Helpful Tools & People Than You Know

    There are more resources out there than you know, so one of your jobs is to DISCOVER and TAP them. Your next job is to knit together a support group capable of giving advice and getting you through. If this sounds like starting a company you aren't far off. Cancer requires many of the same skills as business such as courage, decision making under pressure and creating a team capable of WINNING.

    Photo by debbietingzon

  23. 23. despair

    Fear, Despair, Depression = TIME WASTERS

    One function of creating a great TEAM is to focus your energy where it can do the most good - on achieving things like 1. getting better 2. achieving lifelong Bucket List dreams.

    Photo by BovenX

  24. 24. forgive

    Accept & Forgive...Yourself & Others

    I read a great book, Radical Forgiveness, and it helped me forgive myself for my life's many mistakes. The biggest and hardest to forgive was my divorce after 22 years of marriage to the love of my life. That was a TOUGH forgive, but what other choice is there now? To NOT forgive was to continue to LOSE TIME to it. Couldn't afford that anymore. Had to move on.

    Photo by Celestine Chua

  25. 25. best

    Your Best Stuff Hasn't Happened Yet

    Your SICK and you are SCARED so remember your best LIFE is ahead not behind you. Create tough but realistic goals. For me riding a bicycle across America after my first chemo became my BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal). That goal was a massive over-reach I realized right when we got to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we kept moving forward even when it seemed impossible. Eventually, after 60 days, there was nothing but water. Your BEST life is still in front of you...Always.

    Photo by db Photography | Demi-Brooke

  26. 26. Martin W. Smith

    @Scenttrail, @CrowdFunde

    I am easy to reach on Twitter or email martin(at) I'm also on every social net: Linkedin Pinterest G+ & our cancer foundation Story of Cancer

    Photo by twbuckner

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