As I mentioned last week, I was at the annual National Speakers Association convention, hanging out with about 1,500 speakers from all around the world. One of the most amazing things about being at this annual event is the people you meet. Yes, we have great presenters, like Steve Forbes and Penn Jillette, but the real impact is made by the people you see or get to sit with at a meal.
For example, at one lunch, I sat with an astronaut who had commanded three space shuttle missions. Wow. You can just imagine all the questions we asked and how fascinating the conversation was. The biggest takeaway from that conversation was the enormous amount of preparation and training those folks went through to be able to do what they had to do. Just like the rest of us, they had a job to do and they took it really seriously.
I also got to talk a bit with a former NBA basketball player, an Olympic gold medalist, and a former combat pilot, all of whom are now professional speakers. In other words, our profession attracts people who, because of their life experiences, have learned some things they want to share and/or have a story to tell.
But in addition to the people like the ones described above, there are others who really touch your heart. One of our main platform speakers was Sean Stephenson who, when he was born, doctors predicted would not survive past birth because of a rare bone disorder that stunted his growth and caused his bones to be extremely fragile. Sean joked that all of those doctors are now dead and he’s still alive. But he is 3 feet tall and lives on a wheel chair. Despite his challenges, Sean has taken a stand for a quality of life that has reached millions of people around the world. If you want to see something truly inspiring, check out Sean at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9i6calKZwk
I also got to see several people with no arms, some with one leg, I attended a session given by a quadriplegic, and one of our most inspiring speakers was in a plane crash and had other events that left him scared, handless and in a wheel chair. All of these people have used their lives to be a source of inspiration to others and they are surely that.
I share this with you because these events are always such a wakeup call for me. Yes, I’ve had my challenges and I’m sure you have had yours. But I promise you, for the vast majority of us, what we have gone through has been a cake walk compared to those like Sean. Yet, a third of the country is on anti-depressants. There are more drugs and anti-depressants sold in the USA than the rest of the world combined. On the list of countries with the happiest people, we in the USA are about number 20 or lower.
Why is this? Because instead of focusing on how blessed we are, we focus on what we don’t have or what we want to have. Most people aren’t happy. They’re waiting for life to turn out, not realizing that it’s already turned out and it’s turned out pretty damn well.
Is the glass half empty or half full? The answer is: both. The better question is: how do you see the glass (i.e. life)? My experience is that far too many choose to see the glass as half empty and that is a formula for a bad attitude. And as I’ve written about before, your attitude is everything. Your attitude determines your vibrational frequency and what you attract into your life.
So if you want a dose of reality, if you’re not waking every day saying: Another Day in Paradise, if you’re not focusing on how great your life already is and counting your blessings every minute of every day, I’ll see you next year in Washington, DC for the 2015 annual National Speakers Association convention.