The voices in your head that say you’ve failed too much, started too late, you’re too old or too young, too plain or too pretty, too this or too that could be right. But consider this what if you could turn your worst disadvantages into your biggest advantages? Yes, even the ones that kept your business from, growing, haunted you all your life and crippled your professional development. This is the story of people who have turn disadvantages into success.
Read the story below and apply it to your business or life.
A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master.
He was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move.
“Sensei,”(Teacher in Japanese) the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.
Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament.
Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches.
The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match.
Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be over-matched. But, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.
He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy asked:
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered.
“First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”
How David Boies turn his worst disadvantage into an advantage
One of the best trial lawyers in the USA is David Boies. His work has included representing Al Gore against George W. Bush in the Supreme Court case that effectively determined the results of the 2000 presidential election and defending IBM against antitrust charges brought by the Justice Department. David has often attributed his success to his having dyslexia, but how, exactly, could a reading impediment improve one’s success in a field built upon cases and scholarly analyses?
Quite simply, Boies turned his worst disadvantage into his biggest advantage. His reading deficiency was ameliorated by his becoming an exceptional listener. “Listening,” he explains, “is something I’ve been doing essentially all my life. I learned to do it because that was the only way that I could learn.” Eventually, Boies became a litigator. Sometimes, in his opening statements or closing arguments, he encounters a word that he is unable to decode, “so he stops and spells it out,” Gladwell explains, “like a child in a spelling bee.” In fact, when representing the Justice Department in an antitrust case against Microsoft, Boies referred to the term, “login,” as “lojin.” Even so, Boies made sure to listen closely to witness testimony throughout the trial and, after his spirited cross-examination of the witnesses, essentially guaranteed that the court would rule in favor of the Justice Department.
What can you take from these stories to apply to your life and business? Go and turn your disadvantage into your advantage.