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Life lessons from people who’ve faced death: Turia Pitt

4 minute read
turia pitt standing in the dessert talking through her life lessonsCredit: Grace McBride

It’s the great irony that most of us never really appreciate life until we’re faced with death, so what can we learn from those who’ve been closest to it?

It’s a question we put to an eclectic group of people with a few key similarities – they’re all brave, strong and resilient and have seen first-hand the fragility of human existence.

This week, we spoke with Turia Pitt, who at just 24 became trapped in a grassfire while she was running a 100km ultra-marathon. Suffering excruciating burns to 65% of her body, Turia survived and is now a humanitarian, author and speaker.

This is Turia’s story.

The Check Up (TCU): Can you recall a time you've most felt like giving up? How did you overcome that?

Turia: Yes heaps of times. In hospital when I was recovering, I definitely felt like tapping out. The journey I had to go on seemed insurmountable. What I did though is just take it, quite literally, one step at a time. We can achieve absolutely any ‘impossible’ goal when we break it down into small bites. You’ve just gotta focus on what you have to do today. The rest will follow.

TCU: What’s the one piece of advice you live by?

Turia: I’ve got two pieces of advice I live by, that drive me every day:

  1. Consistency. I know some days I might make progress towards my goals, other days I don’t. Some days I might even slip backwards. But I remind myself all I have to do is be consistent - do the work every day, and eventually I’ll get there.

  2. Persistence. I remind myself that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re persistent and keep going after immeasurable setbacks - and despite your failures - YOU WILL GET THERE. That’s not a maybe - it’s inevitable. If you keep being consistent and keep trying, you’ll get there.

TCU: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Turia: My beautiful boy!

TCU: Describe one failure that has most stood out to you and how did you overcome it?

Turia: I’m proud to admit that I’ve failed heaps of times! I’m a strong believer that failure doesn’t define who you are, it simply helps you define a better path forward.

TCU: What's one daily habit that's changed your life?

Turia: Choosing gratitude. Every morning I think of three things that I’m truly grateful for - this morning it was for the smile my son gave me, breastfeeding while watching the sunrise, and my coffee. I bang on about gratitude because it just has the most profound effect on everyone who tries it. And it’s so simple! I’ve got a whole stack of gratitude exercises in my eBook Mindset Magic, so you can always mix it up and feel the incredible results!

TCU: You famously choose not to talk about the fire, why is that?

Turia: I find it really boring! Check out all the details here.

TCU: You've already accomplished so much, what's next?

Turia: I just want to spend as much time with my son and focus on being a great mum.

TCU: What would you change about this world?

Turia: I wish people understood how powerful their mindset was. If you have the right mindset, you can do and be anything you want. That’s why I wrote a book all about how to get your mindset to work for you, not against you.

TCU: What are you most grateful for in life? Has it changed since the birth of your son?

Turia: I’m grateful for so many things in my life, but Hakavai and Michael (my son and husband) are top of the list! I think gratitude is so important.

Want more? Check out our series on Life Lessons on The Check Up.

Life doesn’t always go to plan, so it might be time to consider taking out a life insurance policy. nib offers a number of options to suit your individual situation. Get a quote online today.

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