Blue Moon Publishers Introduces Chris Ruden

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?

These current times are unprecedented. There is so much happening around us and affect our businesses, relationships and live that it can be overwhelming and rightfully so. The upper hand cannot give people money lost or fear felt or frustration that has been lived. But what I hope it can provide is the opportunity to help people separate the things they can control from the things they can’t control so that they can invest their energy and action into effective aspects of their mental health so that they can make effective decisions for their loved ones, colleagues, and themselves. There is so much noise in our current world so to be able to select which thoughts and actions to invest in allows people to gain control of a seemingly uncontrollable situation. No you cannot control the pandemic or politics or anything outside of your control. You can only control you. Luckily, in controlling and strengthening your effective thoughts and actions, you become untouchable by external events. Your sanity, your happiness, your peace, your quality of life cannot be chased because they exist in your head already. You just need to get the upper hand over yourself so that you can choose to see them.

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?

One of the most effective tools I use is asking a question that strips away the frustration we all face when we hit hardship, leaving just an effective or ineffective option. When times are tough and when you’re having this flurry of thoughts, ask yourself “will this thought help me or hurt me?” Will this action help you or hurt you, does this belief help you or hurt you? Chances are you know the answer. Equip your self with this question to see which thoughts/actions. you need to strength and which thoughts/actions you don’t need to invest in. When faced with decisions, ask “which decision will make me proud when I look back?” It doesn’t matter if it seems like everything sucks and you’re “losing”—I’ve definitely been there more times than I care to admit. But what matters is that you put yourself in a position to “win” back what’s important… your quality of life. Ask effective questions to yourself to get effective thoughts which trigger effective behaviors. Give yourself the upper hand over the you that tells you it’s ok to not be happy and it’s ok to suck and it’s ok to lower your value. Asking effective questions to yourself is the best tool I can give because it’s the best tool I still use daily.

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.

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