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Turia Pitt inspires students to change focus

Turia Pitt speaking with Year 8 students via video link

Year 8 students were excited to virtually meet with inspirational Australian, Turia Pitt, whose book, Unmasked, the girls have recently read.

During the video call, Ms Pitt explained the lessons she had learnt as she rebuilt her life after sustaining horrific burns when an out-of-control grassfire swept across her path during an ultra-marathon in 2011. Ms Pitt suffered burns to sixty-five per cent of her body, lost seven fingers, spent over six months in hospital and endured over two hundred operations. She was told she would never walk or be independent again but she has since competed in Ironman Australia and the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. In addition to being an athlete, Ms Pitt is a mining engineer, mother, motivational speaker and author.

Ms Pitt spoke to the students about surviving against overwhelming odds and said that, with the right mindset, people can achieve anything, even in times of uncertainty.

“I didn’t go to school during a global pandemic but I do know a little bit about going through tough times and facing adversity,” she said.

“Through my journey, I have learnt something: change your focus. Your focus is like a torchlight; whatever you shine it on is what you’ll see. So if you’re focusing on all the things that could go wrong, or what’s missing in your life, or your flaws or insecurities, or if you listen to that little voice inside your head telling you that you’re not smart enough, you’re too young, you don’t have the experience, then that’s all you’re seeing, that’s all you’ll get.”

“So what I ask you to do is try and change your focus. How? Ask yourself these questions: What’s one small step forward I can take? What can I be grateful for right now? And how can I be of service? These questions all change your outlook and your mindset. They put you in a positive frame of mind and get you moving in a new direction that is bigger and brighter,” Ms Pitt said.

Ms Pitt said life is about focussing on progression and explained that she was only able to engage with the painful process of recovery by taking the journey one small step at a time.

“I know you girls are extremely dedicated to your education and your schoolwork and you would know that it’s consistency that gets results. So focus on being consistent, focus on taking the small steps every day towards your goal. The only way we get good at things is by testing ourselves and the only way we get more gumption is by showing up when things get tough,” she said.

Year 8 student, Chloe Silberman, said she was encouraged by both Ms Pitt’s book and by her message during their virtual meeting.

“Ms Pitt shows that we can get through anything life throws at us by taking things one step at a time,” Chloe said.

“Rather than worrying about the future and becoming overwhelmed, we can try to focus on what we need to do today to make progress. At the end of the call, I was feeling confident and excited about future possibilities.”

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