The average grocery stocks thousands of ingredients with an infinite array of meal combinations. But you only need perhaps twenty different ingredients to cook a delicious meal. The trick is finding the right mix.
When chasing after success, it’s tempting to want to do everything and be everything. However, truly successful people focus on a deploying couple of strategies and developing their key strengths instead of trying to be something they’re not.
I’ve often felt my disability robbed me of certain paths to achieving success. In my twenties, I often bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t jump in the car, drive across town, pound the pavement, press palms and just be a businessman. Today I see that the ingredients for this kind of success are simply unavailable to me at the grocery store life. I still fall into to the trap of wishing I had those ingredients like a cook who wished they picked that extra onion off the shelf to make the dish come really pop....
I have written about mindset for the last few years. Now it is time to take my business and life to the next level. To cut a long story short, I am adding a marketing strategist to my team.
I recognize this amazing challenge will be unlike any I have tackled before. It is exciting, but I can’t help second-guessing if my mindset is ready to take it on and if I can adapt to the new ways of operating that are sure to come from the fresh ideas.
As I wrap my head around the looming changes, I keep running through my Five Keys to an Amazing Mindset. Here’s a few thoughts that popped up over the last few weeks:
When we don’t understand why a solution was invented, it’s easy to confuse it with the problem it was created to solve.
I noticed this when discussing the concept “what is your wheelchair?” with my team. In short, this neat thought-experiment suggests everybody struggles with something that holds them back. But this doesn’t quite fit. The way I see it, the wheelchair is part of the solution to the problem not the problem itself.
After all, without my wheelchair I couldn’t even get to the living room of my own house. But just because it works does not imply my wheelchair is the perfect solution. It’s bulky. It’s expensive to fix. It scuffs my walls and can only be transported a special van. Yet there is a big difference between resenting my wheelchair and resenting the need to use it. We need to separate the solution from the problem.
Thinking carefully about solutions is the key to getting on the path to success, even though we’d...
Society is becoming deeply polarized because we no longer have shared ways of listening to each other. Group cohesion requires every person to have a basic respect of each other at all levels, including families, sports teams, businesses and the whole country.
The best way to build cohesion is through shared experiences. Covid-19 is perhaps the largest experience we are all sharing right now, but we seem to have lost the ability to find any consensus about the facts, let alone solutions.
With the explosion of technology, entertainment, social media and customizable news feeds, the critical task of finding common ground is enormously difficult today. We all carry thousands of possible news sources in our pockets available at the click of a button, each one presenting different preferences, biases, sources and ideologies. This is a radically new world.
Before the smartphone, we were stuck with reading whatever magazines were available in the doctors’ office. But it was also true...
An all-too-common stumbling block is thinking that amazing equals perfect. It leads to a kind of self-sabotage since people refuse to take even the first step to success if it isn’t perfect.
Right now, we have two amazing tools for combatting the Covid-19 pandemic. The first is for people to simply wear a mask when with others so the virus spreads slower. The second tool is rolling out the mRNA vaccine which really is a miracle of medical engineering.
Obviously, neither tool is a perfect solution for the pandemic. Masks can be smelly, feel hot on a face during the Summer and tend to conceal friendly smiles. Likewise, the vaccines are showing some adverse side-effects, generally require a few booster shots to be effective and involve our favorite thing – needles. Yet, these two simple – if imperfect – tools could help immensely in the collective task of pushing back Covid-19, especially in the US.
The key to getting society on the same page about this task...
My previous post was about the importance of not obsessing over the wrong areas of life. This week, I want to unpack how this concept affects my life and the role my disability plays.
I grew up framing my disability as simply an inconvenience, not an anchor holding me down. All my friends needed help from their parents as well and, strange as it sounds, I did not feel too different from my peers. I was kindly included in many childhood activities and even got invites to plenty of parties. Life was pretty good, actually.
Back at the family home, no one thought my disability got in the way of family life. We just factored in a few extra steps when preparing for activities or before going on outings. This adaptive mindset was ingrained in me from the start, and it still animates my life today.
However, I’d be lying if I said it was all roses and rainbows. During my early twenties, I started to OBSESS over everything my disability denied to me. For instance, my peers were...
The number one killer of creativity is distractions and dealing with life’s challenges requires a lot of creativity.
Recently, I spotted my young son Andrew running on our couch. Andrew said he was getting in the required daily four thousand steps because his Fitbit device said he was behind. He was so serious about the arbitrary goal that it worried me a bit. I didn’t think a Fitbit should be dictating Andrew’s daily activity, so I took the device away and suggested he focus instead on school, friends, being a big brother and, well… being a kid.
It got me thinking about how easy it is to let random things distract us. In this era, few of us can escape distractions. Our attention is constantly being pulled in so many directions it’s tough to focus on our life’s mission.
And while the news can often present a compelling storyline, even following macro-issues in the economy or politics can leave us feeling powerless. Sooner or later, we project...
Our life path is the sum of all available opportunities, our socio-economic status, the choices we make, our personal narrative and countless other factors.
We’ve all made a New Year’s resolution. They sound like a good idea at the time. But a frivolous resolution is a perfect example of expecting critical change to come from making one decision. They are a symptom of a society that has developed an unrealistic attitude of demanding instant gratification. Few want to hear the truth that positive habits need to marinate over time.
A better way of thinking about good habits is that you are not trying to improve your life today. Rather, the larger goal is to change the trajectory of your life.
For instance, most people recognize that going to college will certainly limit your short-term earning potential. But they also know that over the long term a college degree can drastically increase one’s pool of contacts and boost their earning potential. The result is...
Sports are rich in lessons about personal development, and I love listening to sports talk shows unpacking a team’s strategies, tactics and training. So, I’d like to share some of my sports thoughts that also offer excellent insight into achieving amazing success.
Use luck, but don’t depend on it
Luck will always influence success, especially in sports. For instance, a key reason the Milwaukee Bucks won the 2021 NBA championship was the team’s comparatively low number of injuries. Of course, the Bucks still needed to put in plenty of hard work to win the games, but the team masterfully figured out how to capitalize on its fitness luck. This is an excellent lesson for personal development.
A major factor in my own success is because my parents enrolled me at a small school in a suburb of Los Angeles. At the time, most school districts would not have accommodated my disabilities, but the Las Virgines Unified School District took good care of me. I was...
When pursuing a goal, many people think challenges must be slain, like a dragon. That is simply not true. All challenges come in two broad types – external and internal – and it’s important to understand the dynamics of both and how best to deal with them.
Every year, I learn a little more about how my disability affects my life. It would be easy for me to believe that if I didn’t have this disability everything would be okay. However, that kind of narrative doesn’t help me understanding my challenges and is a recipe for stagnation.
I have been there before. It was tough for me to find a job after graduating college because even if I found employment, it was a logistical nightmare to get to work. Over the years since, I have hired many people and I always gauge whether the logistics of bringing that person on board makes financial sense for both of us. So, I cannot imagine what my old interviewers were thinking as they sat across from me, pondering what...