How to Overcome Adversity

Hey everybody, it’s Mic Leo. I want to talk to you today about beating adversity. So a lot of people asked me how I beat adversity. Well, the truth of the matter is that you don’t beat adversity as much as you adapt. You see, the first time I had to adapt when I had been home from the hospital about a week, and I usually to change the fuel pump on my car, so I had to figure out how am I going to fuel pump with one hand? So it took some thinking and some adapting. And after a little while I figured how to do the fuel pump on my own.

Now when it comes to me as a martial artist, how did I beat adversity? It’s simple. Again, I adapt. You see, adversity actually makes you stronger. When I go train with other martial artists, I don’t look at myself as weaker than them. I look at myself as stronger than them. I look at them and go, “Gee. They all got two arms and their neck ain’t even messed up and I’m competing with them at the same level, if not higher.” It makes me embolden. I embolden myself through my actions.

When you have an adversity, a disability, anything that you are dealing with in life, the fact that you are dealing or just in the process of dealing with that makes you a stronger person. That’s how you beat adversity by tackling it. You don’t beat it by allowing it to determine what you are and what you do in your life. You don’t beat it by allowing other people to determine what you are and what you do in life. You beat it by determining what your limits are and you deciding how you are going to combat those limits.

As a martial artist, I have spent 40+ years training and teaching other people. A lost my arm when I was 20 years old. So it’s been about 32-33 years or so with me fighting, teaching, and training with one arm. Now it didn’t happen overnight. It happened here – in my brain and in my heart. That’s the first step. You need to believe in yourself. Because when other people don’t believe in you, it doesn’t matter. What matters most in you believing in yourself. And let me give you some secrets. Don’t just believe in yourself, make it real.

For example, as a martial artist I didn’t just say, “Hey, gee Mic, you could still fight.” I went out and sought the best instructors in the world and train with them. I went out and pushed myself to overcome my adversity. I actually fought willingly every single day. Every single day I have to fight and beat my limitations. Do you know what that does to me? It makes me a stronger person – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

That’s how you beat adversity! You just don’t lay down to it. You adapt. You adapt to yourself because, I have news for you, you can’t change the world, can’t change circumstances, all you can change is yourself. And when you change yourself, it’s a beautiful thing, you take charge of yourself. And when you have a disability, you have to think to yourself you are different. You are different than other people. But you are not weaker than them, you are stronger than them. My message to anyone with a disability, my message to wounded troops, anyone who is dealing with adversity, is that you are stronger than other people. When you get up every single day, put your shoes on, brush your teeth, do the normal activities that everyone else does, the fact that you have to deal with these limitations makes you a stronger person.

Take that strength, embrace it, become who you are through the strength of adapting. The best thing you can do in your life is to adapt. Anyone who is successful whether they have a disability or not knows they have to adapt multiple times in their life in order to continue to be successful. Well, the key to it as a disabled person is that we already had a leg up on everyone else. Everyone is struggling to deal with everyday little things saying “oh my god, oh my god this…”. You as a disabled person, you are stronger than they are.

When I go through a martial art training camp, and I’m training with other instructors, I embolden myself by saying, “Gee man, I am here doing this despite my limitations.” And what that does to my brain and my heart makes me feel a thousand times more confident than what I did before. But the difference is I don’t put those ideas in my head, I Make It Real.

You beat adversity by adapting, by evolving, and by prospering. It’s simple. It’s a simple little concept. Adapt for life main philosophies come down to pretty core understanding of life. And that is you need to adapt in order to achieve. There’s no sense of adapting if there’s no evolve from the adaption. And, what is the point of doing either of one if you are not going to prosper for it. So the key is you make whatever it is you want to do, you make it real.

Become functional in your training, in your thinking, and the way you accept your limitations. That is another key. You have to accept your limitations. You can’t deny that you have limitations. That is like throwing a jab – cross instead of going jab – backfist. I accept my limitations. I just work around them. And by working around it as a martial artist, why do you think it’s so easy for me to fight people who have two arms? Because all day long I train with people with two arms. How often do they train against someone with one arm? How often do they spend time thinking, “how am I going to beat this guy with one arm?” That’s all I do! It’s thinking, “how am I going to beat this guy despite the facts that he has an extra arm than I have or his neck doesn’t hurt like mine is?”

How do I do it? It’s pretty simple. I make it real. I adapted my training, adapted my fight to my strengths. That’s how you beat adversity.

Take it head on. Kick its ass. And make it yours.


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