The Importance of Avoiding a Negative Mindset When You Have FA

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

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Today at work, my small team visited two of our stores and facilitated friendly competitions in the grocery sport of bagging. July is the beginning of our monthslong pursuit of identifying the best bagger of our company, Nugget Markets, so we can send them to represent us at the national competition. With almost 30 years of “Bag-Off” competitions at our company, these events have become a significant part of the fun that we build into our culture. We’re also home to the 2022 Best Bagger National Champion.

As we hosted two hours of rambunctious fun at each of the two stores today, I found myself quietly contemplating my physical limitations as I watched others run around, jumping up and down, and quickly weaving in and out of the crowds we accumulated. I can’t say I ever feel jealous of others, but I often wonder, “What if I could do that?”

Although the list of things I cannot do because of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) will never stop expanding, I realize that spending much mental energy studying that list can derail my mindset. I know it’s cliché, but I sincerely believe that I become what I think about, and thinking about the negative elements of life for too long can be discouraging.

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Instead, I remind myself of the things I have the privilege of enjoying and experiencing. Thankfully, that list never stops expanding, either. Fortunately, it’s too long a list to fit into one column.

I have much to be grateful for, but what’s on my mind today is how FA has taught me to feel grateful and how it’s added richness to my life, even amid frustration, pain, and loss of abilities.

FA has undoubtedly made my life challenging in many ways, and no day ever goes by without a reminder of the difficulties FA causes. However, FA has also taught me to be more patient with myself and others. It’s taught me to appreciate more and more, and has pushed me to hone in on the positive and encouraging aspects of life. There is plenty of negative energy in the world and no good excuse for me to add to it.

So although I couldn’t join in on the jumping and running around today, as one of the facilitators and organizers of my company’s Bag-Off season, I enjoy one of the best seats in the house for each event. I have the privilege of watching our associates grow their skills and create their strategies for success. Whether critiquing how someone bagged groceries or helping design a presentation for new managers, I get paid to help train associates at a company that is consistently ranked on Fortune‘s 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Sure, some things could be better. But they could always be worse, too.

Note: Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.


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