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How to turn a handicap into an advantage

“A lot of what is beautiful and powerful in the world arises out of adversity. We benefit from those kind of things, but we wouldn’t wish them on each other.”

Malcolm Gladwell

Some people have no choice but to try harder than others because they’re handicapped.

So the shorter basketball player develops quickness and anticipation in order to compensate for a lack of height.

A dyslexic student practices harder than anyone else to read and write — in doing so, they unlock a new way to play with prose. Maybe they even become a poet or build a media empire, like Richard Branson.

A disability can be a gift in disguise

In working harder to overcompensate for these perceived disadvantages, one begins to see that what makes them successful is exactly the thing that causes them so much struggle.

As the author Bernard Malamud once said, “if you haven’t struggled you haven’t yet lived.”

Embracing the dialectic of a beautiful struggle is what underdogs do. They have no choice but to cope with their weaknesses and find other ways to win.

The following formula helps explain the phenomenon of beating adversity:

Handicap + Struggles + Diligence + Overcompensation + Creativity + Innovation = Success

With the right mindset and effort, a handicap can outweigh its inherent limitations.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of Discvr.blog and four books.