Is success limited by bad breaks, lack of ability, or competitors with superior resources? It can appear that there are so many reasons why we can't achieve our goals. Do these thoughts need to become our reality or do we just need to change our perspective?
Today I heard an interview by Ed Mylett with Jake Olson. Jake is a blind long snapper for the USC Trojan football team. Yes, he is blind.
When Jake was young he was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eyes. He lost one eye when he was very young and doctors spent the next 12 years fighting to save his second eye. When he was not at the hospital receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and experimental cancer treatments, he played golf and center on his flag football team.
When he was 12, doctors made the decision that they needed to remove his second eye. Before removing his eye, he had the opportunity to spend time with his favorite football team the USC Trojans. He developed relationships that would last a lifetime including the USC center and coach Pete Carroll.
After he lost his sight, Jake re-learned to play golf and made his high school varsity golf team. During his sophomore year, his friends convinced him to work with a coach over the summer so he could try out for long snapper on his high school football team. He made the team and was successful by his second long snap.
Jake graduated from high school with honors and received a scholarship to USC for the physically challenged. The coach at USC convinced him to try out for the position of long snapper. He did not play the first two years, but did get to play his junior year. He also passed college calculus by doing the formulas in his head.
Below are 4 things I learned from Jake on how to achieve success even after setbacks.
Build your skill of gratefulness
Jake says that gratefulness is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets.
Have a great support system
Jake was lucky to have great parents, a twin sister, and Coach Pete Carroll as his mentor.
Don't give up
Jake calls himself stubborn. He recognizes this as a gift even though his family and friends tease him about being stubborn.
Place your faith in God
Jake's favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11. It says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." When faced with adversity, we have a choice to turn toward or away from faith. Jake chose to turn towards God. Jake says that you need to "wait for God to turn your setback into a setup."
If Jake has no excuses, I have no excuses. Jake, thank you for the inspiration!
When Jake is not in college or playing football he does public speaking. The best way to book him as a speaker is to reach out to him at this web site.