Before you watch Johnny’s interview with W Mitchell, here’s what you should know about Mitchell…
In 1971, former marine W Mitchell had a good job as a gripman on a cable car in San Francisco, but a horrific motorcycle crash left him with burns on 65% of his body and offered unforeseen challenges in his relatively young life. If that wasn’t enough, four years later, Mitchell, a licensed pilot, crashed his small plane and became paralyzed from the waist down from the injuries. With a string of tragedies in the prime of his life, Mitchell would’ve been forgiven if he’d just decided to feel sorry for himself. Instead, he focused his attention on what was left.
“Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do,” he says. “Now there are 9,000. I can dwell on the 1,000 I lost, [or] I can concentrate on the 9,000 that are left. And in my lifetime if I do even a few hundred of those things I’ll be one of the most remarkable people on the planet. . . .”
Some of those things he accomplished were becoming a mayor, being a successful businessman, and becoming one of the most respected and sought-after motivational and inspirational speakers in America. For him, the success was a result of never making excuses.
“You can find an excuse for almost anything, and if you want to excuse away the reason you can’t do [something], well okay,” he says. “That works for me – follow that course, because obviously that’s the one you want to follow. Overwhelmingly, most of us aren’t doing what we want because we’re choosing to find an excuse not to do what we want.”
And as a man that hasn’t made too many excuses in his life, W Mitchell doesn’t look back at his tragedies and view them as setbacks. For him, dwelling in the past is a waste of time.
“There’s a great line that says, ‘It’s okay to look back, just don’t stare,’” he says. “And all that time we spend staring at the ‘I wish I had, I could’ve, I would’ve, oh I should’ve’ – all that time we spend is just wasted time. Think of what it is you want to do, think about the fact that probably a lot of people have done what you want to do, and go do it. Or don’t do it, and if you don’t do it, smile.”
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