David Reilly was born with Cerebral Palsy but has never let his disability prevent him from participating in outdoor pursuits, achieving his goals and fulfilling his potential.
Now, through writing and motivational speaking, David shares his experiences, which can’t help but motivate others. Grab a cuppa, and get to know this truly inspirational man.
I started writing because I was angry. I left school at 16 with nothing and went away from home to a boarding college in the Midlands. My parents had fought tooth and nail to get me an education but it just wasn’t to be in Scotland. After years of remedial teaching and a lot of hard work, I got enough A levels to go to University. At the age of 26, ten years after hardly being able to read, I left medical school with my masters degree. This however, just added to the frustration of now being 30-something and unemployed.
One day I was feeling sorry for myself, and someone said to me ‘why don’t you write it down?’ So I did, and that’s how I started writing. Since then I have written short stories, a novel I’m hoping to publish one day, and I have had numerous articles published in newspapers. Only a few years ago another person asked me if I had thought about a blog? I didn’t know what blogging was but I set to work to find out.
Finding my Niche
My blog has gone through many transformations. First of all, I started putting my newspaper articles in for everyone to read. But given the reasons I started writing, out of frustration really, my posts were mostly opinionated rants. There was a finite amount of my comments on the politics of disability that people would want to read. Surely I had something more positive or constructive to offer the world so I put my thinking cap on.
I was into some serious cycle training in those days. I cycled with a road club in Edinburgh, was training hard and planning to take part in some para-cycling races. I was doing time trials, and was cycling around 100 miles a week. So I started writing a training blog about all my cycle runs. All good, but it wasn’t long before I really started to bore myself. There were only so many ways I could make a cycle run sound interesting, particularly to anyone who doesn’t cycle.
Follow Your Bliss
One day while talking to a friend we had a long chat about what makes you happy in life and, among other things, said to me, ‘It’s important to follow your Bliss’. That phrase stuck with me for a long time and I mulled it over and over. I had tried long enough to establish a job and a career and I was done beating myself up for not working. So for the next few months I did exactly that, I just did whatever made me happy. It was summer time, weather was great, so I spent long sunny days riding my bike, pottering on my allotment, and going for nice long walks.
After a while there was such a change in me. It was like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulder and suddenly I felt free. With this feeling came a great surge of creativity and an optimism that I hadn’t felt before. Whatever it was, it felt good and this had to be the way forward. I had always done sport but never thought that I could inspire others by it and that anybody would be interested in it. But, after a short time blogging I learned differently. There were not many people with Cerebral Palsy doing the kind of activities I was and people were interested and I had something different to offer.
It Only Got Better
Things really took off in the summer of 2016 and that turned out to be the launch pad for my new career in blogging and motivational speaking. Myself and a wonderful friend spent the summer months camping, walking and cycling in the North West of Scotland. It was like I had rediscovered myself and what I really wanted. When I was a kid I spent so much time outdoors with my family and then with clubs at university and I had forgotten how much a part of me it was. It struck me that when we are living our authentic self and living the way that makes us happy, so many other things fall into place. Living the life we want to lead opens us up all sorts of possibilities, and stops us going down roads that can lead to frustration.
I’m so excited about this coming year. Through blogging and social media, I have made lots of contacts and friends and am beginning to get a little sponsorship. I have trips planned to the North of Scotland to climb mountains and am planning a trip around the Orkney Islands. All this basically means doing more of the same, whatever makes me happy. I have seen that by following my dreams everything else kind of just falls into place. I am also hoping to begin in earnest my motivational speaking and mentoring people. Through speaking and coaching I would like to help others find their way to happiness and to be the best they can be. Life just seems to get better as time goes on and I really want to share that with others.
Feel free to get in touch with me through my website or social media.