When Australian Navy diver Paul de Gelder suffered from a shark attack, he lost the usage of two limbs, including part of his right arm and his right leg from the knee down. Although the experience was horrific, de Gelder now says that confronting the aftermath of the shark attack has made him a better man.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, now that Discovery Channel’s Shark Week has begun, the fearsome ocean predators will be sure to be featured all over the world now. But some claim all the talk about shark attacks has fiction overcoming fact and it’s even claimed the legendary shark called “Submarine” may be getting the “Megalodon” treatment that has fans throwing popcorn at the TV screen.
Now that’s not to say shark attacks can’t be horrific. When the bull shark attack happened to de Gelder, he said it was like being eaten alive:
“I felt an almighty whack on the leg. I didn’t think too much of it at first. It didn’t hurt. Half a second later I turned over, looked down to check my leg and saw the huge grey head of a bull shark, one of nature’s most aggressive man-eaters. What’s more, I could see the upper row of its teeth across my leg…
“I couldn’t seem to move my arm. It was pinned down by my side. I hadn’t realised my hand was also in its mouth. I tried to stab it in the eyeball with my other hand. I tried to push its nose, but my hand just slid off, like pushing a slippery concrete wall. I pulled back my left arm and punched the shark as hard as I could on the nose. It started shaking me like a dog would a rag doll. The shark pulled me down under the water, continuing to shake me…. His injuries were horrific. The shark had been eating him alive.”
Two months were spent in the hospital before Paul de Gelder could go home, but even then he felt half a man and just wanted to die. Eventually, he realized he had a defeatist attitude and he decided to fight that just as he had the shark attack:
“Negativity is a vacuum in which nothing else can exist. It has no usefulness, and I decided to ban it from my life. I had no fear of failure because, if I wanted something enough, I’d bite into it and hold on like a rottweiler at a dog fight until it was accomplished. I’d do all that I possibly could not to fail.”
Years later, this change in attitude has taken him all over the world. Previous to the shark attack, he was afraid of public speaking but now he has a career as a motivational speaker.
“Through the agony and patience and perseverance, I now sit five years down the road living a dream life that exceeded all my expectations…. I’ve graced the covers of fitness magazines, hosted TV shows, and traveled the world speaking to multimillion dollar corporations, summer camps and everything in between.”
Regardless, he knows the shark attack drove home one point:
“Life is here to be lived. And with the right attitude and willingness to deal with the hurdles, it can be bloody awesome.”