The Unfair Advantage of Being in a Wheelchair

Reading time: 3 minutes

This is off the top of my head while I’m taking a break from my studies.

I thought we could brainstorm, well, I’ll be doing all the work, but brainstorm about what there is to do if you’re in a wheelchair.

I’m the type of person who, with curiosity and ambition, wants to endeavor on any opportunity I see fit for me. There are many, and I’ve practiced saying no to a lot of things. 

In the world of business, when starting out, it’s advised to start small. Start very niche. As Seth Godin has said, be a meaningful specific instead of a wandering generality. Do it different, do it fresh, give value.

In other words, we’re in a world full of people. So many people that the greatest human desire – to be remembered – has become one of the most difficult achievements. Being in a wheelchair, or having any respectable adversity, becomes leverage for greatness.

So, what is there to do? 

As you should know, I’m a bodybuilder. A real bodybuilder – competing like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I wasn’t going to be a pro, but I did win all competitions but one.

As a 21 year old, there are enough guys my age that are better than me in every bodybuilding aspect that I would surely lose.
However, there are not many guys my age who are also in a wheelchair that I would compete against who would be better than me. And so, in becoming more niche, I have reduced the competition and increased my probability of winning, which is what matters in a competition. 

With that as an example and keeping “niche” in the forefront of your beautiful mind while reading this, here are some avenues to pursue if you’re in a wheelchair.

These may spark an idea within you, I hope they do.

•  Motivational speaker 

•  Write books about adversity (your experience, lessons, actionable knowledge)

•  Be an advocate for disability and inclusion (D&I) 

•  Work at a company for D&I 

•  Go into politics for D&I

•  Start a blog

•  Start a YouTube channel 

•  Become an engineer to invent tools for D&I 

•  Compete in any sport – think about the Paralympics, where there is less competition relative to the Olympics

•  (If you’re attractive enough) become a D&I model for clothing or products 

•  Start a nonprofit for a disability related cause 

•  Work as a consultant for companies to improve D&I (clothing companies, therapists, corporations, public buildings, etc.)

•  Make a world record as the first person in a wheelchair to do ____ (likely with a sport) 

The list can continue in you beautiful and limitless imagination.

No matter what it is that you’re interested in, you can do something about it. If you want to be an actor, that may not happen, but you could be a playwright. Think broad, find crossroads, then narrow dig deep.

Immediate actionable items: I just read this today when I grabbed a book off my shelf and went to a random page: advice from Warren Buffet – write down 25+ things you want to do, circle your top 5 and focus on those. Completely ignore the rest.

(Book is Grit by Duckworth)

Summary: There are more opportunities that arise from being in a wheelchair than not. Specifically, think in terms of competition. The probability to be the best at what you do has increased because there are less people in the pool of competition when you get more niche.

Overdeliver:  Like mentioned in the actionable items, it is also relevant what Steve Jobs has said, that focusing is about saying no to a lot of things.

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