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Month: November 2021

Crippled CEO Blog #111: Unfair Advantages

Crippled CEO Blog #111:

I am successful because of my unfair advantages.

It’s true. And I admit it. 

Dr. Ali Abdaal, while reviewing the book, appropriately titled, “The Unfair Advantage”, put success into a formula that I immediately agreed with. 

Success = Fair Play x Unfair Advantages

So, he defines “fair play” as stuff any of us can theoretically do. Getting up early, working hard, investing all your free time into improving, and so on — that’s fair play. 

Unfair advantages are… exactly that. The founder of Snapchat, the youngest self made billionaire, came from a wealthy family. He had access to money and contacts that most people don’t have. Bill Gates, due to a bunch of factors, had nearly unlimited access to computers to learning programming on at a time when computer time was very difficult to get. He also had a really high IQ with a talent for that kind of work. These are all unfair advantages.

But these are kind of the obvious ones. What isn’t obvious is that we all possess unfair advantages. We just have to realize that we have them, and then we have to use them.

A lot of times, you might have an unfair advantage as part of something that you view as a weakness.

For instance — I’m now going to use the example that you were all 100% expecting me to use — I have curly hair. And because of my curly hair…

Just kidding. 

I have cerebral palsy.

And it tremendously sucks in a lot of ways. I have to use a wheelchair. I can’t cut up my own food. I need help bathing, dressing, and using the restroom. Fingering is challenging. Traveling is fraught with difficulties. I am probably going to die in 10 to 15 years. It’s not great. 

But being crippled also gives me some very legitimate unfair advantages. 

People are automatically nicer to me than they would be otherwise.

I am much more recognizable and easier to remember.

Strangers, especially women, are more likely to talk to me in public than a (much scarier) able-bodied man. 

Being disabled makes all of the other things I accomplish seem more impressive and noteworthy.

People, and therefore the media, find what I do more interesting.

Living four decades with CP has made me ridiculously patient and a pretty fantastic problem solver — though it’s done nothing for my humility. 

I save a lot of time and money not wearing shoes (which is immediately canceled out and replaced one thousandfold by everything else, but still). 

You have at least one unfair advantage that you can and should use, and there’s a good chance that it’s something you think is hurting you. Start ups with no money end up being more innovative and ingenious. English isn’t your first language? You’re a lot closer than most to being bilingual. Blind? You can use your incredible hearing and martial arts skills to fight crime. Wait, that’s Daredevil. Maybe don’t do that. But you get the idea. 

Life isn’t fair. Unfair things are going to happen to you all the time. It’s time you start being unfair back. 

(Your mom likes all of my unfair advantages. But you don’t even want to know about hers. She also gets a weekly text with a link to my latest blog every Sunday. And it’s from a new number! Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #110: Spotlight Effect

Crippled CEO Blog #110: 

You are less important than you think.

Wait, that sounded terrible. This is supposed to be helpful.

Let’s try again.

You don’t have to worry about looking silly for taking a risk, for pursuing a dream, because people care about what you do less than you think.

Seriously. It’s science. 

It is a psychological phenomenon called the Spotlight Effect. 

We are the heroes of our own stories, so we assume that we must be a big deal in everybody else’s, also.

But we’re not. 

Mainly because they are doing the exact same thing.

And even when we logically realize that other people don’t think about us as much as we think about ourselves, because of another psychological phenomenon known as anchoring, we still overestimate our impact. 

A study was done where they had participants wear “embarrassing“ T-shirts to a restaurant. They then had the participants guess how many people noticed the shirts. Even though the participants tried to pick a conservative number, understanding what was going on, they STILL guessed too high. 

No one notices. Nobody cares.

Except me. I notice everything. But you don’t care what I think, anyways.

I really like watches. Add this phenomenon is well known in the watch community. People stress about which watch to wear, worried what people will think, but the truth is that nobody notices.

But it doesn’t just go for appearance. It’s true for everything. People also care less about your successes and your failures than you think.

They’re not up at night thinking about how your last endeavor flopped.

You could take this as kind of depressing — no one thinks about you. 

But, in reality, it’s liberating. It means you can do whatever you want and, as long as you’re not hurting anybody, nobody will think much of it. You can do what you want for you without worrying about other opinions. They don’t have any. 

You’re the only one judging you all the time, so why not do the thing that will make you happy and proud of yourself? Go ahead and please the only audience that’s paying attention. No one else cares, anyways. 

(You know who definitely doesn’t care what other people think? Your mom. Last night. She’s also smart enough to get a link to this blog every Sunday. Send a text to 484848 with the word CRIP as the message and you can, too.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #109: You’re Right

Crippled CEO Blog #109:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford

I have been fortunate in my life and in business that I’ve I met a few people who are especially excellent at fixing things — computers, cars, machinery, plumbing, and so on — and I’ve had the opportunity to watch them execute their craft. 

What is interesting, is that often times these people will dive into fixing something they don’t know about, that they have never fixed before. Most of us would say, “I don’t know anything about fixing dish washers,” and seek out assistance, but these particular people don’t do that. They move forward anyways, confident they will be able to figure it out.

I have noticed a specific trait that all these people have. 

And it’s not necessarily just experience, skill, or some innate talent.

Because in those instances where they are fixing something they don’t know about, they are looking it up on Google and YouTube. They are learning how to do it in real time. We could totally do the same thing, but we don’t and they do. 

So, what’s the difference? 

They think of themselves as people who are good at fixing things. Either they’ve done it before and had some success, or someone previously told them they had this skill, or they just decided… but either way, it became part of their identity. 

They believe they can do it, and so then they do. And when they then succeed, this creates a feedback loop confirming this identity.

But the belief came first. 

And just as the belief made them able to do it, the only thing that stopped you was your belief that you couldn’t. 

Just the story you choose to tell yourself about who you are and what you can do. 

And what’s great is that you get to decide that. You can decide that you’re the kind of person who flies a plane or plays guitar or does capoeira. And then you can. And you should. 

Because whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

(I can’t even tell you what your mom thinks she can do. Eesh. She’s also the type of person to get this blog served to her in a text message each week by sending a text to 484848 with the word CRIP as the message. She’s a smart lady.)

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Crippled CEO Blog #108: Read, dummy

Crippled CEO Blog #108:

You’re wrong about when success happens. 

It doesn’t happen when you’re running your business — or fixing the car, or making the sale, or writing the code, or cooking the food. 

It doesn’t happen during business hours when you are doing your job.

Because you do get better from the doing, but so does everybody else. Getting better by experience alone means you’re improving at the slowest possible rate.

It means you’re only learning from your mistakes.

It means you are relying on only your ideas and your perspective.

Real success comes from what you are learning when you are not executing your craft.

The things you learn from 8 PM to 10 PM make you twice as effective during your 9 to 5. 

In 2016, I got serious about reading the best books I could find on my craft, on growing and running a business.

I had read before when I had a specific task I wanted to accomplish — a specific skill that I needed. 

But in 2016, I just started reading to get better. And since then, I have consumed thousands and thousands of pages on a myriad of topics that I thought would make me better at what I do. 

And literally nobody is going to be surprised when I say that the result is a business that would barely even recognize itself from five years ago.

Now, maybe it is cooler to pretend that I just figured it out on my own with all of my original thoughts and ideas.

But that’s not true. I just read. And I listened to audiobooks. And I watch YouTube videos. When I’m not working, I’m working on working better. Not always, but a lot. 

Honestly, though, I don’t think it takes that much. I don’t think enough people do this at all, so if you’re doing even a little bit, you are beating 75% of your contemporaries.

This is the force multiplier. It’s the cheat. It’s the hack. It sounds basic and obvious because it is. It just takes something most people won’t give: time and consistency.

We live in a time where education is cheap and available. I don’t have an MBA, but I think the education I’ve gotten in the last several years is better — I have the results to prove it. And I’m in a whole lot less debt. 

(You know who’s always working on her craft? Your mom. Be like her and send a text to 484848 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the latest blog each week.)

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