Tips by Islander Cameron Massengale
With the craziness that has been 2020, keeping a positive vibe while continuing to grow can feel extremely difficult. But as a brand that thrives on good vibes, here at Island we surround ourselves with superstars who can take anything the world throws at them with a good attitude. We asked Islander Cameron Massengale about his thoughts on tackling obstacles in life, and his thoughts are inspiring, compelling, and exactly what we needed to hear to start this year.
Before jumping into his tips and advice, we want to give a quick background on the trials of Cameron’s life. In 2014 after his first year at the Citadel, 19-year-old Cameron lost his dominant hand to a traumatic accident. He had to fight his way back into school and finish his degree, becoming the first amputee to graduate from the school. He now volunteers on a national level with other amputees, ranging from the start of their journey to several years after losing their limb, to get them fit with the right prosthesis and achieve their independent goals.
When asked the very broad question of “How do you tackle obstacles in life?”, he gave some extremely empowering answers:
1. Find what motivates you. For me, I want to decide what I can and can't do, not what others feel that I can and can’t do. Proving others wrong has always given me a great feeling of satisfaction.
2. Dive right into it. The only way you’ll find out if you can achieve a goal or get around an obstacle is to jump in and start. I was scared when I started scuba diving, I had wanted to learn ever since I read the Adventures of Dirk Pitt in Clive Cussler’s novel, but I didn’t know if I would be able to accomplish all the skills needed to become a certified diver due to my amputation. So I jumped right in…literally. I would have never known if I could have accomplished this feat without starting it. Now I am a certified rescue diver and can help both fully abled and disabled divers to safety if they should get into trouble.
3. Break down the obstacle in small and manageable goals. Take a daunting task and create smaller tasks to complete the overall goal. It is okay to take it slow, sometimes it is better too, as you have more time to think and complete the task with fewer mistakes. When I am teaching a new amputee to operate an electrically powered hand, it's better to start with simpler tasks like picking up a foam ball that won’t break if they drop it rather than tying their shoes. This builds confidence as you accomplish more and more small goals keeping the momentum rolling.
4. Stay hungry and don’t get complacent. It’s easy to relax once you have beaten whatever obstacle was in your way, but start looking at your next goal - what mountain or hill do you need to climb next? That doesn’t mean you need to ignore your successes, take your time to celebrate and appreciate what you have accomplished!
5. Stay flexible. This is the best advice I have ever received. Learn to adapt to new challenges or outcomes because life, work, hobbies and relationships aren’t stationary targets. Everything is moving and evolving as time passes, and the more flexible we are to change the easier it will be to adapt to that change and crush it.
As he mentioned in his tips, Cameron is an avid SCUBA diver, and says living on the coast is a huge benefit but comes with a responsibility. He works hard to keep the ocean healthy and fun to visit – whether on the shore or 60ft below the surface. He is also into fitness, including weight lifting and Jiu Jitsu for a physical and mental challenge. He loves to promote a healthy, active and outdoorsy lifestyle, and enjoys the clean ingredients of Island Coastal Lager after a day of diving or Jiu Jitsu class.