Dr. Arnold Beisser’s Flying Without Wings

1363 words - 5 pages

I have chosen to write my book report on an autobiography. Dr. Arnold Beisser’s Flying Without Wings discusses his battle against polio and how he overcame innumerable obstacles. Born in 1925, he contracted paralytic polio at age 24. While our situations are vastly different, I found that we were actually quite similar. His insights into the life of an individual with a disability are accurate. Although the autobiography is not financially focused, many of his ideas and life lessons directly relate to financial goals and ultimately financial independence.
Until Beisser contracted polio, he led a “normal” life. He won a national tennis championship and had already completed his basic medical training by the age of 24. As a member of the National Reserve, he was called upon to fight in the Korean War. While he was determined physically fit to serve, he fell ill on his way to Navy training. His diagnosis was non-paralytic polio. Within a few hours he was paralyzed from the neck down. He spent a year and a half in an iron lung and remained in the hospital for three years total. He was paralyzed for the rest of his life.
Contrarily, I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy with Merosin Deficiency. I never had the ability to walk, stand or take care of myself. I have been using an electric wheelchair since I was eighteen months old. I attended public school for my entire career and achieved high honor roll every semester of high school. I currently attend the small, Liberal Arts University of Wells College. While Beisser had to deal with great loss, I have only known my life the way it is currently. However, I have often questioned my abilities and my future, similarly to Beisser. Throughout the book, Beisser makes statements that can be directly applied to my life as well as my financial goals.
One of the most important steps Beisser took in his recovery was setting goals. He competed with himself as he tried to grow stronger (Beisser). The importance of goals is immeasurable. According to Brain Tracy, goals should be stated in the first person, active positive voice, with time and dollar – if financial goal – specificity. While Tracy’s book came much later than Beisser’s, it still applies to the overarching idea of goal setting. For example, Beisser tells of how he set the goal of staying out of the iron lung for five minutes after a month and working up to an hour by the next year. After he decided that this was reasonable, he started to set goals for “achieving a profession, going to work, developing relationships, and writing…” (Beisser 10-11). In the eighth chapter, Beisser explains that he grew up learning “that if someone wanted something bad enough he could have it, and if he was willing to work hard enough for something, you could always get it” (Beisser 117). He goes on to explain how this mentality promotes optimism, well-being and self-fulfilling prophecies. This directly corresponds to Wealth File...

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