“Why Not?” A Question of Excuses or Possibility?
Lots of us working in the field of innovation, critical thinking and creativity have a litany of excuses - no time, no resources, no support, no interest ... and on and on. This refrain also runs through our personal lives as we find reasons not to do the things we say we want to do ... whether it's getting a better job, taking that special family vacation, finding time for art, or even cleaning the garage. I'll do it tomorrow ... or ... I'd do it "if only ..." freeze us in the patterns of today.
As he often does, a friend of mine blew away my encyclopedia of excuses when he passed along a story about Kyle Maynard, a nineteen year-old wise man, and author of the book, "No Excuses."
It may seem strange to think of someone not yet twenty as a wisdom keeper, let alone as the author of a book that those of us who are older and more experienced could learn from. Yet Kyle's story is a silver bullet to the heart of the excuse vampire that drains us of our dreams.
On the surface, the story seems ordinary enough - a young, gifted athlete who triumphs in wrestling, football, weightlifting, and pretty much anything else he attempts ... except maybe typing. His typing is only a respectable but not stellar 50 words per minute. That seems rather lackluster until you learn that he was born without hands or feet and types this speed with elbow stumps. Plus, he's already in the Wrestling Hall of Fame and is recognized as the World's Strongest Teen, bench pressing almost 400 pounds.
So, how does someone without hands or feet become a winning athlete? By Desire and Belief
Success is born in desire. Kyle decided at 12 that he wanted to be on the high school wrestling team. He lost all the matches his first year and most of them his second year. But he persisted and wound up as a runner-up in the regionals, only one match away from state championship. Success is also fed by belief. Kyle states in his book, "I knew it didn't matter how much I was afraid, how much I was in pain, or how impossible the situation appeared to me. I knew the obstacles. This was no different from the rest of my life. We all have challenges to face and to overcome. No obstacle would keep me from accomplishing my dreams."
Success is never a one-person drama. There is always a supporting cast. Kyle's parents and family were determined to help him lead a normal life. Teachers and coaches helped him devise methods to overcome his handicaps. However, the story is a reminder that the world responds to our passion and belief. If we want something badly enough to begin the journey, our passion will attract supporters and resources. Joseph Campbell called it "following our bliss" and said that doors would open when we did.
This story came to me as I was trying to find a new business venture. My handicaps are not as visible as Kyle's but they are real in their own way and have thrown up a spray of excuses - no technical skills, no training, not enough time, no place to work ... and so on. Suddenly, I could hear Kyle laughing at my wimpiness. It's my choice - I can face the obstacles and "just do it" ... or I can bronze my excuses and let my dream pass on by.
One amazon.com reviewer of Kyle's book said it perfectly, "This book leaves you no wiggle room." Where is your wiggle room? What are you holding yourself back from achieving all you could be?
If there is something in your life you truly want, perhaps Kyle's story and this book will help you start your journey today. Kyle's motto is, "It's not what I can do; it's what I will do." That word "WILL" is such a powerful igniter!
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Good Read: Ready to Re-invent Yourself?
Quote to Live By - "Argue for your limitations and surely they will be yours!" Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Are you monitoring your self-talk?
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