A friend came to me one day and said, “Andrea, I have bad news. I was recently diagnosed with cancer, and it is not curable.” I felt so sad for him.

He was only in his early forties with teenage children and a wife at home. He said that he was beginning to make the “necessary arrangements” and he did not need to elaborate. I tried not to let any tears flow, but still, a couple did and I quickly wiped them away and replaced them with a smile.

I do, after all, believe in positivity, even in the direst of circumstances.

As he left, I looked at him and thought that could be me. One moment completely healthy, the next diagnosed with the end of life. How would I react? Could I really have an ounce of positivity left in that situation?

I asked myself if there were any martial art moments that could compare. When had I ever felt alone, bewildered, or denied?

I could not pinpoint a specific time, except to know that martial art obstacles were always overcome along the way. I would have never earned a black belt or second degree, if not. Looking back, they were mostly battles in my mind. Could I actually perform that technique or skill?

Then, eventually, I broke through to the realization that everything is possible.

Just because someone tells you something, even in their expert opinion, it does not mean that it is true. I’m sure you have heard the caveat the doctors are truly just “practicing.” They don’t know everything. The same is true in martial arts. It is a practice that flows, like life. General concepts stay the same, but there is fluidity in physical practice. One movement is never precisely like another.

Your mind succumbs to what you are told.

You begin to prepare and to accept. Battling against what is meant to be, wastes precious energy.

Or, does it?

Does battling against difficult situations allow you the benefit of being in control of who you are? Does it enable you to see the positive in the negative? Does it provide you with the ability to push through that which seems inevitable?

If, in sparring, I never convinced myself to push and really fight hard, especially with a larger opponent, I would never win. Sometimes, I just get lucky, too. Either way, I want to know that giving in is not always the best option.

Not long after his diagnosis of incurable cancer, my friend returned to me. He said he didn’t know how it happened, but the doctors checked again, and it was not cancer after all, but some rare and difficult infection that could be treated. That is when I knew.

That is when I trusted my belief in positivity.

Not everything is as it seems. Even the most devastating news is not set in stone.

My friend was surprised about the updated diagnosis. To be told you are going to die changes your perception about everything. Then, when promised life again, you are renewed in ways that you never felt before.

Today, you and I have the opportunity to live life to its fullest.

Your perception about who you are and where you are headed has many facets. You may feel like you’ve reached the end of the road in something, but I can assure you, there is nothing that definitive in life.

You can’t change destiny, and surely many people diagnosed with life-threatening situations continue on a path beyond this world. Some, however, get a second chance.

No matter where you are in your own life, I have great news. Today is your second chance.