07/23/2014 04:17 pm ET Updated Sep 22, 2014

Basketball Player: 'Losing My Arms and Legs Was One of the Best Things That Ever Happened to Me'


What is the last thing you can remember complaining about? Was it the weather, the traffic, or your misbehaving children? Well, after reading this article, you just might never complain about anything in your life again.

My friend Rayna DuBose is a basketball player. In fact, she was one of her area's top players and received a full scholarship to Virginia Tech University. The future was bright... or so everyone thought.

Just days after Rayna's first basketball season at Virginia Tech, she contracted bacterial meningitis, which put her in a coma for three weeks. After she awoke, the doctors gave her the bad news: They would need to amputate her limbs... all four of them. After accepting this inevitability, Rayna barely missed a beat, going back to school (with her prosthetic limbs), serving as assistant coach, working out with the team (yes, you read that correctly) and graduating. To her, "nothing changed." And now, Rayna is a motivational speaker.

While I was chatting with Rayna, she casually said to me, "Losing my arms and legs was one of the best things that ever happened to me."

I believe my response was: "Excuse me?"

She said, "It's true. I'm much happier now because before, I was heading down the wrong path, with the wrong people. And now I'm helping others. It's been exciting; I've learned a lot about myself, and I don't see anything as a problem. I don't see myself any differently than anybody else."

This is someone who needs to put on her arms and legs first thing in the morning before she does anything else. Oh, and Rayna can also text, and she's even the driver most of the time when she goes out with her friends.

I asked Rayna what she learned from her experience. She responded by sharing with me one of her favorite quotes by Frederick Douglass:

"Without struggle, there is no progress."

Rayna embraced the struggle.

When she faced adversity on the basketball court, she stepped up her game. She embraced the struggle.

After contracting bacterial meningitis and losing her arms and legs, Rayna also stepped up her game (in life).

We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. If situations could affect how we feel, then Rayna would probably be depressed, sitting at home, feeling sorry for herself, saying "why me?" But she's not. Instead, she's traveling the country speaking to thousands of people, inspiring them by sharing her story and leading by example.

If Rayna DuBose can be optimistic with everything that she has gone through, then so can you. I once told Rayna, if anybody has a right to complain about things, it would be her. But she doesn't. It's a choice.

What was it that you were complaining about again?

For more information about Rayna DuBose, visit:

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