Reflecting on Life

How often have you found yourself metaphorically lighting the lamp in the dark, hoping it’s a candle and not a stick of dynamite?

As a year nine dropout with Tourette’s syndrome, I was forced into a position of choosing life as a victim or a victor. I thank God every day because those circumstances have formed me and made me take risks that have enabled me to push beyond the potential I thought I had.

I have tried some really, really dumb things. But I have also succeeded beyond what people thought I could. I have neurological disorders handed down from both sides of the family line; however, I have learned to avoid destructive actions and indulgence in those things that would lead to the continuance of those symptoms in my own life.

As a person with Tourette’s syndrome, I can be ‘grasshopper minded’ as my Father used to describe me, flittering from one obsessive idea to the next.

Another way of describing this problem is that I sometimes have too many tunes playing at once. The dance is mixed up and indiscernible to me, and I had to work my way through this.

I can gratefully say that I have grown through the flightiness. With a few doses of harsh reality, I reached new levels of maturity where I could help support others battling this problem.

I see now that we all approach success in many ways. One strategy is to have big dreams but only a little discipline. It could be seen as having an average work ethic with a champagne taste for achievement. Another strategy is to try to win the lottery of life and end up poorer for it. Others take pot-shots at difficult, glorious ambitions, and now and again, it has worked out for them.

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”

— Sara Henderson

That is all character building; it takes courage to let a failed dream go. How tough is it to accept the loss of money and pride in a project that did not work out? Ouch.

I have had to do this many times, but because I am crazy enough to try things out, I also succeed at many more things than most others.

Success doesn’t happen randomly. Career development and education require a lot of work and commitment at the start but yield great rewards over time.

We continue to break each point into small steps, and this strategy has paid off many times for me and my clients in changing their career goals and outcomes.

Then when you do reach your goal, there are new challenges to face! We learn that sometimes people do not want you to get too successful as it pricks sharply at their own limitations and guilt.

Your success can be a stark reminder that they have settled for their own level of mediocrity. They laugh out loud as they sense the difference. They choose not to leave the shelter of their safe harbour and head out into the risky deep water, pointing at you as you go.

So, in short, I just want to say this today. Try new things, stretch your capabilities and get ready to be laughed at (a lot)! Remember also to laugh at yourself! If nothing else, you will end up with some great stories to tell…..unlike those who played it safe!

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”

George Cardin

Remember that being different is our biggest asset and we don’t have to be like everyone else. If you need a keynote speaker or presenter on neurodiversity, private message me today to book your next presentation.

Thanks for reading! I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comment space below!

Dave Brebner.

Dave Brebner – Keynote Speaker, Organisational Neurodiversity Educator and Storyteller.

As a neurodiverse public speaker and presenter, Dave Brebner specialises in using educational neuroscience to explore pathways for professionals and engage in inclusive discussions for diverse audiences. Living with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, and Anxiety Disorders since an early age, he is married with six children and one grandchild. He recently added a Master of Educational Neuroscience to his qualifications to further deepen his understanding of the neurodiverse mind, adding to his qualifications in Trades & Training, Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training, and a Master of Education degree in Career Development. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia, and you can learn more about Dave’s work at

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