Rusty Labuschagne – A motivational speaker and life coach who is changing mindsets across all divisions. He has learnt to find “Victory over Injustice”. Rusty experienced 10 harrowing years under horrendous conditions in Zimbabwe’s prisons. In 2003, the successful self-made businessman, who flew his own aircraft and had a fishing resort on Lake Kariba, was wrongfully convicted of drowning a poacher. He was subjected to conditions most people would find unendurable, having to dig really deep within himself to find solutions to an unbearable situation, as an innocent man. His resilience, positive mental attitude, lessons in forgiveness, gratitude and humility are an unparalleled inspiration. Rusty says “Injustice is experienced across every division – race, religion, gender, job promotions, family disputes, salary increments, social media slander, customer service, you name it. The human being is tough, we can withstand enormous hardships – shipwrecked for 48 days, bobbing in the ocean for 19 hours, unthinkable prison conditions for years; but it is how you get through there mentally that matters. Life lessons I learnt in remaining victorious over his adversities were;” The Importance of a Positive Metal Attitude. I learnt not to let past thoughts hurt me, the past only exists in your head. To be able to see positives in all the negatives going on around me, brought hope, which was a huge part of getting through prison life. Whenever we think, feel and see, our mind generates a signal that affects every cell in our bodies. About 750 trillion cells. Thinking is 98% of that signal. So, what you think actually affects every cell in your body and brain, physically. Research shows that 75-95% of illnesses come from our thought life and we have an average of 30,000 thoughts a day. So, thoughts play a massive role in diseases in our bodies. By the same token it can be just the opposite, when you are thinking correct thoughts you generate very healthy signals, that affect your blood chemistry and build more healthy cells. So, our thoughts create who we are, physically, and it was my happy thought life, even though it had to be a fantasy, that kept me healthy and sane in there. The power of positive thinking. The Power of Forgiveness The humiliation of being labeled a murderer and terrible conditions, were extremely hard to deal with. As was the pain of my bitterness, anger, hatred, frustration and revenge, for what they’d done and were doing to me. It was eating away at me every day, more than the lice ever could. I hated them bitterly, and initially would lie there for hours wishing every terrible thing on each of them in turn, the poacher, the police, the judge, the ministry, and all who were involved in my conviction. Then one day, I was struck by the realisation that they’d all forgotten about me long ago. Here I was, consumed by the unfairness of it all, and they, blissfully unaware of the evil I wished on them every day. In the end, I was only hurting myself. I was carrying all that in my head and beating myself up for nothing. The single biggest lesson I learnt in prison, was true forgiveness. I now know what Nelson Mandela meant by forgiveness. And for me it was bigger than anything I could achieve on my own. True forgiveness was inspired by God Almighty, and so was letting go. It was a huge weight off my shoulders, and I learnt to live in the moment from then on. The past was too painful and the future full of unkept promises, so I just dealt with each day as it was. I learnt to have faith because no amount of worrying was going to change what I was going through. If you have anger or resentment towards anyone, in any way, it will eventually destroy you, because that is what those emotions do. They steal from you. They steal happiness and freedom. Many people ask me “HOW” I managed to forgive them for what they did to me. One day after about a year, I’d had enough of all the anger, hatred and bitterness. It was draining me daily and I remember the exact words I said to myself walking in the prison exercise-yard, I just said “Let the Lord take care of them and let me get through this road that’s been put in front of me. Life is a circle and what goes around comes around. They’ll get what they deserve.” And once I’d accepted that, and pushed those stresses aside, life in prison changed for me. It’s about handing over issues you can’t undo and moving forward. These small negative angry thoughts kept returning and I’d push them away until I had finally, forgiven them wholeheartedly. You can look at it in 2 ways – you can FORGIVE, FORGET and move FORWARD, or you can – RETAIN, REMEMBER and REGRET. The choice is yours. And if you say “I’ll forgive but I’ll never forget”, then you still remember and will never move forward. You can’t bounce back from anything if you don’t forgive those who you believe have done you wrong, only when you forgive and let go of the past, can you be fully free to move forward with your full potential. The Value in Gratitude We all WANT too much in our lives, concentrating on what we haven’t got instead of being grateful for what we have. For me, giving thanks every day, goes a long way – for my health, a loving family, a beautiful home, a soft bed, running water, and so on. When there is no food, no water and people are dying all around you, you become grateful for the fact that you are still breathing and another day is a blessing. When you lie in a cell with 78 other people and your breath is not even your own, gratitude suddenly has a different meaning altogether. Gratitude opens up the motivation, reward and connection centers of the brain which make us more receptive to new possibilities and give us a deeper level of meaning and purpose. Think about that for a minute. When we wake up feeling grateful about who we are, what we have and what we’ve achieved in our lives, it’s uplifting and invigorating, it motivates us to go out there and reach for greater things. Gratitude Gratitude also opens up the reward and connection centers of the brain. The reward centers of our brain are also known as the pleasure centers and are what give us a feeling of wellbeing and make us want to do that thing again. When we stimulate our reward circuits in a healthy way, with laughter, play, sex, creativity, we release endorphins and neurochemicals that can regulate emotion, decrease pain and increase trust and connection. All these emotions affect how we communicate and form relationships. The healthiest of all human emotions is gratitude, remember that, and practice it. Having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most impactful habits for a fulfilling and healthy life. A compelling and passionate speaker, Rusty’s message to audiences is that everyone is faced with challenges, but it is who you are and the depth of your determination, that will get you through life’s darkest moments. He shows how one can harness one’s inner strength and let go of what one cannot control. He brings a personal, transformative, authentic message of hope and positivity to any gathering. To book Rusty for your next conference or event, call Unique Speaker Bureau on 011 465 44100

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