It’s typical, isn’t it? The moment we set a goal, all the little obligations and priorities of normal life jump up to get in the way. Then we naturally go with the flow which ends up maintaining the very lifestyle from which we hoped to escape when setting that lofty goal in the first place. Typical.
But because this is so normal, intelligent people have figured out how to stay on track with reaching our goals. I want to outline a few of these gems in this essay.
First, it’s important for every goal to be based in reality while also reflecting what others need of us. Divorcing these from each other is a recipe for failure. For example, it is tough to create a business product that goes “viral” without any marketing. If planning for serendipity in business was easy, then everyone would be doing it. Going viral depends on a lot of things that are permanently out of any person’s control, so planning a business around this strategy isn’t a wise...
My life is filled with amazing people and amazing experiences. I have traveled, nurtured deep friendships, relaxed at countless dinners, found a wonderful woman and fathered two beautiful sons. Along the way, I also met dozens of entrepreneurs, authors, athletes and other amazing people. I am also a highly experienced speaker and writer.
Bottom line is, I have a truly blessed life.
On the other hand, I was born with cerebral palsy. My disability means I need always need help eating, getting ready in the morning, typing, showering and performing other basic tasks. The disability also affected me psychologically.
For instance, I often daydream about what my life might be like without cerebral palsy; even after all these years, I still cannot shake the feeling of embarrassment when asking for help; and watching others effortlessly perform basic tasks reminds me of how much more energy and time I must spend on those same tasks. I often feel robbed of a deeper human essence.
I take pride in what I write and publish. I absolutely love the process of writing since it is a part of my life over which I have control. Due to my disability, I will always need help doing basic tasks, including eating and showering. While I still need help getting my words onto a page, I’m always writing in my head.
The internet is a hugely valuable tool for someone in my position. It lets me publish whatever I want, whenever I want. But the internet has its downsides. After all, if anyone can publish at any time, it is now easier than ever for sneaky people to bend the truth to fit a certain narrative.
That’s not how I approach writing. I try to respect the truth and only add my strong opinions when I’m sure of the facts. To learn what’s true, I am constantly reading books or articles and watching online explanatory videos about personal development. Although I have unique insights, when I write something that builds on other people’s work, I...
Happiness and joy don’t stick around forever and attacks on joy can come from many directions.
These attacks could be the result of receiving bad news at work, encountering a negative person, getting a handful of unexpectedly large bills or even watching a favorite sport’s team lose a close game.
The trick to maintaining joy is understanding how joy works. Here are a few pointers:
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...