As most of the world locks down because of the pandemic called the corona virus, people are changing their lives like never before. I live in California, outside of Los Angeles, and the governor put the state on lock down.
I was born with severe cerebral palsy. I’m in a wheelchair and speak with a severe speech impediment. For most of my life, my body and my disability put me in lock down. One of the concepts that I often think, write, or speak about is that limitations can lead to opportunity if you know how to exploit them. In order to take advantage of your limitations, you need to know how to do so. It takes a very progressive and positive mindset.
Note- I’m not implying that having a disability is a blessing or you should not be scared or upset about the threat that this virus has caused. I also don’t want you to get upset about the everyday comforts of life. In fact, I want you to take 30 seconds to get upset. I will hold on. Let me get you started. I miss not having sports. I’m upset that I had to cancel three or four trips. I’m upset that I can’t go to restaurants. I live a very amazing life. With that being said, all my life, I have been mad at my disability. I’m mad that I can’t hustle for work. I’m mad that I can’t play sports with my kids. I’m mad that I have to consider my disability in every single decision that I make. With that being said, I love my life and I have had some pretty amazing experiences. I have kids. I have a loving wife. I have a bustling social life (although, it’s not so hot right now).
My career was born out of the opportunity that I have as a disabled person. Because I could not interact with the world the way many people do, I had a unique opportunity to just think about life. I took the opportunity and learned about success, mindset, living out your full life, dealing with challenges, and I got the opportunity to inspire people. That is a gift. That opportunity took a unique mindset, and it would have been exponentially easier to just wallow in self-pity. By the way, I still have days when I do just that.
I know the world is on edge and many people are scared. I don’t want to take away those feelings because I have those feelings too. I’m worried about our way of life. I’m worried about the economic situation of this country, especially people who work in the service industry. I’m worried about other industries. Unfortunately, the effects of this amazing situation are not yet known.
There are opportunities for you to improve the way you approach life and, no matter what happens, you will be better equipped to handle challenges or even excel. This does not mean you can’t get upset or scared. I just want you to take advantage of these opportunities in very extraordinary times.
Cook Something, New or Old
You can cook something that you have never cooked before or have not cooked in years. You have the opportunity to slow down, pour yourself a glass of wine, and lose yourself in cooking.
Now is an extraordinary time to spend time with the people we love the most. With social distancing, we are forced to only interact with a few people at a time. We can take the opportunity to really deepen the connections. On one weekday, when my kids would normally be in school, my wife made pancakes for breakfast. With many activities shut down, families can take the opportunity to introduce their family to game night or movie night. One of the trends that I see is that kids these days need to be busy almost every day of the week. This is an amazing time to just be intimate with each other.
This is an amazing opportunity to build better habits. In the book, Power of Habit, by Pulitzer-Prize-winning-author Charles Duhigg, he explains that habits are formed easier when people are not in their normal environment. Many people are in a brand new environment, whether that’s working from home or changing their social activities, and have the opportunity to influence positive habits. Whether that’s a reading habit or a meditation habit or a journaling habit, now is an amazing time to take advantage of your new schedule. Unfortunately, for many people it will be the opposite. Many people will eat more or drink more alcohol. Many people are also stressed. It’s also easy to get lost in the media coverage of the pandemic.
I was watching more news than usual. I followed the stock market more than usual. I realized that my mood was dictated by the news. I decided to limit the news and, instead, work on my projects and read books.
With all the time on your hands, it’s an amazing chance to develop a new skill or sharpen an old skill. There are books, YouTube videos, and online classes that can help you develop your skills from home. You can develop your communication skills, relationship skills, or professional skills. You can also learn something new ,such as marketing or social media that you can monetize later.
Although we have to practice our new favorite term, social distancing, this does not mean that you cannot call somebody or video chat with them. It’s a good time to reach out to people to see how they are doing. You can even bounce ideas off of each other. It’s also a good time to offer help to someone who needs it. My buddy and stage partner, Chris Stevenson, does consulting for the fitness industry. In his newsletter, he offered complimentary assistance to anyone who wants it. People need your help right now. It’s an amazing time to reach out. In addition, serving others focuses your attention on something positive.
We also have the opportunity to be nice to each other. There are going to be a lot of people in economic hardship. One of the stories that I saw was a restaurant patron giving a $9,400 tip. I saw another person putting up Christmas lights. We all have the opportunity to be kind. Being kind also helps you become more positive.
This is an unprecedented time to really look at your goals. Are they aligned with your dreams or your desires? One advantage that my disability gave me was time to make my goals crystal clear.
We also have the opportunity to redefine the way we do things. In an interview, Randall Stephenson, the chairman and CEO of AT&T, said that we have the opportunity to redefine working from home. This is a good opportunity to look at our own lives to see what processes we can improve. Can you monetize your skills better? Can you work from home?
My disability gives me a unique opportunity to really think about life and inspire people to live their best life possible. Even though I wish that I did not have the disability, I took the opportunity to really think about life and my disability gave me a unique lens to look at life through.
It is important to find the opportunity in times of challenge. Feeling limited by the challenges in front of you, such as the lockdown from the corona virus, will limit your progress if you allow it. Take the time to look into yourself and your potential and put those qualities toward becoming amazing.