First armless pilot Jennifer Cox, sits next to her Ercoupe aircraft.

Motivation Monday: Jessica Cox

When an obstacle is presented, will you choose to take it head on or allow it to keep you from your goals? That is the question Jessica Cox was faced with many times throughout her life, as she was born without arms. Born in Arizona in 1983, it is still unknown today why she never developed arms in the utero. However, her parents believed that she should not be denied access to regular activities. During Jessica Cox’s childhood, she remained active in many extracurricular activities, including dance lessons, taekwondo, swim lessons, modeling, and Girl Scouts. Although taught how to use prosthetic arms, Cox believed that she could do things more efficiently with her legs.

Jessica Cox grew up with a fear of airplanes, but one day while on a flight in a dual controlled aircraft, Cox was given the opportunity to learn how to fly. “Even if something is scary to you, it’s important that we face it,” Cox states to CNN. After graduating from the University of Arizona, she began her pilot training. During training, Cox recalls that there were many people who doubted whether it was possible for her to achieve her goal. To remind herself to keep persevering, she placed a photo of an aircraft on the backdrop of her computer, and during times of uncertainty, she looked at that picture, envisioning herself flying the plane in the future. This, along with her mentors and instructors, is what Cox believes helped her make her dream a reality. In three years, she was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly an Ercoupe sports aircraft, making her the world’s first armless pilot!

Today, Jessica Cox is a certified scuba diver and third-degree black belt in taekwondo. She also loves to swim, cycle, and surf. She is a keynote speaker and has traveled to 23 different countries, inspiring others to achieve success in their lives. “I’ve had role models and leaders. And because I’ve had that, now it’s my responsibility to be the same for the next generation,” Cox says. She has appeared as a guest on Ellen, Oprah Winfrey Network, CNN, Fox, BBC, Inside Edition, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Now, it’s your turn. How will you overcome obstacles in your life? When opportunity is provided to you, what will you choose to do with it?

“Conquer the fears that are holding you back and take immediate action towards achieving your goals.” -Jessica Cox (


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