MY STORY: ‘Doctor, I appreciate your diagnosis but I refuse to accept your verdict.’


In the MY STORY section, we present some of the most compelling and pertinent stories and experiences shared with us by our readers. Do you have something to share? Write to us: [email protected] with “MY STORY” in the subject line.

Girish Gogia has faced enormous challenges. A freak accident left him paralysed neck down. A few years later his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and she too was paralysed. Against all odds, this man restarted his business and set out on a journey to become a motivational speaker to others.   

“Doctor, I appreciate your diagnosis but I refuse to accept your verdict. I will not live like a vegetable all my life.” This was the determined and passionate statement I made to my neurosurgeon 16 years ago, seated on the wheelchair, when I was pronounced a quadriplegic. Since then there has been no looking back.

My world had turned upside down when I went to Goa in December 1999 with my wife Eesha to experience deep sea diving – my favourite adventure sport. A spirit of festivity was in the air.

We reached the top of a cliff, which I found perfect for a dive. With a deep breath and my hands stretched ahead, I plunged into the sea. Post that there was complete darkness.

Girish Gogia

Girish Gogia

I regained consciousness only on the hospital bed where I realised I couldn’t move my limbs. I was in deep pain.

And life changed

It was then that the doctor explained the diagnosis. My cervical spinal cord nerves had been completely pulverized and I was neck down paralyzed for life! He said my condition was incurable and that I had minimal chances of survival. Even I were to survive, I would be in a vegetative state.

I was devastated! I refused to believe that this could happen to me.  It felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was being sucked into an abyss.

That powerful voice within 

The power you need to succeed is already within you and if you can channelise this untapped potential, nothing is impossible – boomed a deep, powerful voice within me. I listened to it and believed in it. It was an epiphany of sorts, which gave me fresh vigour to keep marching ahead.

Months passed by. I survived. Something kept me alive, giving me the courage to not give up.

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Yes, it was that tiny little voice that kept growing bigger and bigger, becoming stronger each passing day. It said “Girish! Wake up and move ahead. Get out of the abyss. You have come into this world for a purpose. Your accident was not meant to defeat you. Go inspire a billion hearts. Hope and positivity will spring from your heart and inspire all!”

I am an interior designer by profession. The first thing I did was to restart my profession against seemingly insurmountable odds. I was 90% paralysed post my accident but I managed almost 15 designing projects with great support from my wife, parents and siblings! However, something was still bothering me. I confided in Eesha about the feeling of emptiness within, despite the success. “Share your example of resilience, grit and death-defying survival and victory with the world,” she said, and these words got deeply entrenched in my mind.

Girish Gogia with his wife, Eesha

Girish Gogia with his wife, Eesha

Life threw one more challenge

 Life, I guess, was not through throwing me challenges — I received yet another setback when my loving wife was diagnosed with a debilitating, degenerative disease named multiple sclerosis! This again, has no cure.

Eesha’s condition deteriorated to the point where she gradually lost 70% of her vision and 90% of her speech. She became completely paralysed neck down, unable to move even an inch or do anything on her own. It’s been nine years now that she is bedridden. But we have stood stoically besides each other like pillars of support.

We came to observe life very closely. We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it. We also realized that giving is the highest level of living.

I shut down my thriving interior designing business to answer my divine calling, which was to reinvent myself as an inspirational and motivational speaker.

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My wife is unable to accompany me physically for my seminars but she is always there in spirit as a part of Mission Positive Earth. We both see the world as one global family, loving and respecting each individual unconditionally. We share our example of resilience in the face of gruelling adversity, spreading hope, and thus inspiring people to transform victimhood into victory and triumph.

My avatar as a motivational speaker

My journey began with small seminars/life transforming sessions at orphanages, old age homes and various non-profit organizations. This soon progressed to bigger corporate seminars for multinational companies and educational institutions, with my first corporate seminar being at the Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai.

I feel fulfilled and inspired thinking of the seminar for an IT company in Mumbai that I had conducted where I addressed a 500-plus audience dressed in my favourite black suit. “Neck upwards, I have wise and rational analysis. I still have a heart that beats, a soul that feels and a mind that thinks optimistically,”  I told them.

I didn’t really focus on the neck-down paralysis of my body as I spoke seated on the wheel chair about positive thinking and the power of limitless human potential.

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Yes, I cannot move an inch, nor can I do any work without the help of my caretaker because none of my limbs function. Only 50% of my respiratory system is functional yet I listen to fast, peppy music that keeps me up-beat, optimistic and full of energy. I use this energy to break the shackles of my disabled condition.

My current turnover is a staggering 7 billion good wishes and blessings from people all around the world. This is what I said to a curious someone who wanted to know my earnings. Yes, I do receive generous amounts from big corporate companies for every motivational seminar I conduct. Most of the amount is chanellised towards similar programs for the underprivileged sections of society. Every fibre of my being stands for this noble cause, as I believe that total commitment is paramount to reach the pinnacle of success.

The diehard optimist 

I feel in each one of us lies a spark of fire which lights up in the darkest hour of adversity. All that lies behind us and all that lies in front of us is too little in comparison to what lies within us. When we realize this we find that limitations are nothing but imaginary. We can overcome all our hardships and turn our dreams into reality. Obstacles strengthen our resolve. Struggles help us build character. Every challenging situation actually brings us closer to our inevitable victory.

– Girish Gogia

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: [email protected], or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

About the author: Girish Gogia is an interior designer who met with a severe accident that left him paralysed neck downwards. He has, however, found a new calling as an inspirational and motivational speaker.

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