Never bet against Brett Murray, a man who’s daring to tackle the impossible, and more recently, face permanent life-changing damage to his body. Twelve months ago doctors informed him he may never walk again and risked paralysis if he didn’t have immediate surgery on a ruptured disc. Thirteen months on Murray will be competing in the Cairns Ironman Triathlon to raise awareness against bullying. Not only has he recovered he’s looking and feeling better than ever.
“My times are now the fastest they’ve ever been,” Murray, who rejected the surgery and started seeing a physiotherapist, said. “I’m focused, fitter, stronger and faster than ever.”
He credits resilience and tenacity with getting his mobility and fitness back — qualities he says are essential to overcome bullying, “When it comes to adversity, overcoming bullying, overcoming teasing, rejection or any adversity in life you need resilience and tenacity.”
According to the motivational speaker, eliminating bullying is not so different to the challenge of an ironman race. “It’s the most gruelling, one-day, physical event for the human body and it takes a long-term disciplined effort to prepare and compete for it just like the long-term, disciplined effort it will take to eradicate bullying,” he said.
Like many of us, Murray has been no stranger to bullying during his formative years. “I have a lot of empathy with victims and I have a passion to see kids reach their potential and realise they have amazing worth and value — that’s for both victims and perpetrators,” he said. Whilst a noble goal, stopping bullying once and for all is not an easy task, nor is it one that will be solved in the short term. Murray believes the solution is to keep the bullying conversation alive and going. “It comes back to a long-term, concerted effort — educating kids and empowering entire communities, not just individuals, to disarm bullying,” Murray said.
“The more we talk about it as a community, the less front page news this will become.”
What we can all learn from Brett Murray is that one person with the belief and desire can make a significant difference. Making everlasting change however, requires the concerted efforts of everybody. Bullying is all around us and most of us have probably witnessed and faced it at least once in our lives. For us to truly eradicate bullying from schools we need to make sure there is constant open dialogue about this issue, and that we don’t turn a blind eye to anybody suffering.
Have you ever had to overcome bullying? What kinds of strategies did you find useful? Please let us know in comments below or even better, share your story with us in Crowie’s Your Zone.