20 lessons from a ‘not abled’ guy

life lesson

Usually around now, mid October, my winter dread kicks in hard about the imminent coldness/darkness/chest infections and so on. This year I’m surprisingly excited about the winter. I’ve got so many memories to digest from the summer, so many new plans to make, and so many books to read, films to watch and creativity to get out there.

Since February I’ve flown to Japan and Belgium, driven to Spain and Poland (plus everywhere inbetween), and visited 3 of the UK’s National Parks as a video presenter. I’ve juggled this with a deterioration in my physical condition, big government cuts, growing a new business, and with the constant need to maintain my finances/technology/relationships.

In taking stock of these ventures I’ve learned a great deal. So I’ve listed some of my lessons below. I hope some are familiar and maybe even helpful to you too.

1) Use Your Smart Phone (and time) Smartly

I use my phone to watch, read, write, photograph and record. I also plan my diary and to-do lists on it, I scan the news, clear my inbox and engage with social media chatter. However, it can drain your productivity. So I’m trying to cut back on phone time and also on work meetings.

2) Ageing Comes To Us All

It’s always been said that my disability, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, doesn’t degenerate. The problem is that we all lose strength and stamina with age. Compounded with minimal strength from day 1, for me the effect is amplified. Hence I’m feeling weaker and recently growing a ‘food baby’. Remember the advert “belly’s gonna get you!”.

3) Exercise Isn’t Just For Athletes

In light of these post 30-year-old developments, I’m taking more care of my sleep, diet, mind and exercise; all to improve my physical and mental health. Swimming, physio and mindfulness are on the autumn agenda.

4) Houses Were Not Invented For Disabled People

Have you ever looked for a house? Online websites and estate agents can generally point you to what you need. Except if you have a disability…

Renting is expensive, it generally prohibits adaptions and has less stability. Buying should give you a return on your investment, allow for adaptions and be more stable. Except there is hardly any supply of accessible housing. Certainly not affordable and accessible ones anyway.

5) Never Give Up

Despite these housing issues, I went on every website and estate agents mailing list. I attended 10’s of viewings. Low and behold; a property came up, the offer was accepted and things are progressing.

The same can be said in business. For 3 1/2 years I’ve been trying, failing and going again on work projects. I’m still by no means Alan Sugar, but I have some regular clients and income at last.

Also under the more social projects of my blog, Disability Horizons and Toda; I understand more than ever how to take a message, create a community, and get the community to take positive action – after many mistakes and tough lessons.

6) Don’t live in the past.

7) Don’t worry about future events you can’t change or control.

8) Appreciate the now! Acknowledge all the great people and moments around you.

9) Don’t read the news. It’s a version of the world that has constantly instilled fear. Yet we’re all still doing ok, right?

10) Someone should consolidate all Social Media apps into 1 super app.

11) Reading and Learning is way more fun in adulthood.

12) Wheelchairs should be more like Inspector Gadget. Especially the flying bit!

13) Negative people are energy vampires. Keep your influences positive and curious.

14) Routine is safe, but not always good.

15) Clients are always right.

16) The more you’re fixated on money, the less you’ll get.

17) Travel is a beautiful thing.

18) New languages teach you more than just communication.

19) Listening is the route to the truth.

20) The truth is the key to happiness.

21) Always under promise and over deliver (hence your bonus lesson…).


Tweets @martynsibley
World Changer @ www.martynsibley.com
Co Founder @ www.disabilityhorizons.com
Social Media Man @ sma.sunnierdays.co.uk
Healthy Goodness @ www.todaherbal.co.uk

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