Getting to Know Chris Ruden author of The Upper Hand
Chris Ruden, as seen on The Rock’s TV Show Titan Games, is an international keynote speaker, disabled pro athlete, and adaptive model who uses his disability and Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis to inspire people to turn adversity into advantage. Chris speaks about diversity, inclusion, and overcoming limitations, especially in the diabetes & disability space, helping people see their world without limits. His book, The Upper Hand, gives readers the simple tools they need to turn any perceived adversity into an advantage.
Join us as we chat with Chris about diversity, the challenging times we’re facing and how his book can help!
What inspired you to begin writing The Upper Hand?
For 17 years, I hid my disability and told myself who I was based on my disability. I felt like I was destined to be “broken” or “less than” because my arm seemed like an eye sore to me—a deformity that would stop me from living the life I wanted. It wasn’t until I went through years of pain and disassociation that I realized my disability never stopped me from living the life I desired but the story I told myself about who I was and what I was capable was the limiting factor. I started to notice over the years people struggled not so much because of their situations alone but because of how they interpreted their circumstances and the story they told themselves about that situation. People always have encountered hardship and inevitably always will. I can’t change that. But what I can do is create a perspective that allows people to tell themselves a different story about their current and future selves so that they gain and maintain the upper hand over the greatest obstacle they will ever face…themselves.
How do you define adversity?
Adversity is neither good nor bad. It holds no weight except for the weight and value we choose to give it. Don’t get me wrong, adversity can suck when it’s interrupting your plans but that same interruption happening to someone else in a different state that you don’t know hardly has the same sucky feeling. Adversity is the perceived roadblock to a goal or idea about life that we have. That perception can influence the way you respond, think, and act. Our common immediate response to an obstacle is anger or frustration or even self destruction—unless it’s an obstacle course or video game where the obstacle is perceived as a challenge to overcome not one meant to defeat us. And even in defeat of effectively framed obstacles, we come out knowing we tried and continue to push forward best we can. Adversity can be opportunity or devastation, the next level or the final straw, a place for critical thinking or a place for self destruction. Adversity is what you make it.
We’re in challenging times right now. How can this book help?
This book gives people the tools they need to get The Upper Hand over themselves. What is one simple step everyone can apply to their lives no matter what the struggle might be?
If there is one takeaway from your book that you hope everyone can apply to their lives, what would it be?
I want people to realize what they have control over and to own that. For so long I talked poorly about myself and it almost became a subconscious belief. My inner monologue would defeat me before I could even start but that can be changed. I want to help people recognize the habits and patterns that they have created and to ask themselves if that is what they truly want. Having the upper hand over yourself is such a freeing and powerful feeling, giving you the quality of life in your head to take on life. To not be harmed by adversity and not be ego inflated by success. To live presently and be mindful of your value and how it is not lowered by external circumstances unless you choose so.
So I guess the one takeaway I want readers to get is this: You have never been out of control with yourself and you have never been in control of anything else. Know this and act accordingly.
Read The Book!
The Upper Hand is currently available to purchase from your local indie bookseller, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indigo/Chapters.
Do you feel you have the upper hand on your life right now?