Born with a life expectancy of just ten years, fellow Positively Positive contributor Claire Wineland has gone on to not just survive but thrive, and she is the epitome of courage and optimism.

Claire says she was raised “day to day living in the moment.”

When I first met Claire, it was at a TED talk for TEDx Malibu. This fifteen-year-old dynamite had the room in the palm of her hand and was giving them a little whopping to wake up and see what is important in life. I knew I had to interview her. There are few people who live with the kind of day to day challenges Claire does with such a zest for life.

Wise beyond her years, one of the core lessons she shared during our interview was to “stare down your challenges.” She says she has become friends with her challenges.

“When you take away the fear, anxiety, and other emotions, the challenge itself isn’t so bad.”
@clairewineland (Click to Tweet!)

When asked what the biggest assumption people make about her is, Claire shared, “My life is hard. Everyone’s life is hard. I once heard a quote ‘Be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is fighting a great battle.’ We expect someone who looks good on the outside to be put together, and if they look like they’re not put together on the outside, that their life is hard. Well that is such a mixed up view. Often those looking put together on the outside are the ones who are crumbling inside.

Claire has had more surgeries and hospitalizations than she can count and has survived a seventeen-day coma. Yet, through all of her many challenges, she continues to spread joy. She has been called a “little Buddha” and a “true old soul.” I hope we can all learn to see life’s challenges and problems through the wondrous eyes of Claire. To get to a place of acceptance and gratitude for all that this wondrous life is here to teach us—the good and the bad.

Kirsty attacks life like it’s a chocolate cake. She is the Executive Producer and Host of KirstyTV  and an international speaker, author, and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. You can also follow Kirsty on Facebook and Twitter