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The Prison of Your Mind by Sean Stephenson.
I write this blog post from the comfort of my bed at 7:30 a.m. on a “#TeleFriday” as I like to call it – the second day of the week that I’m super grateful to be able to work my day job from home. I often spend days like these cleaning, surfing the internet, and plotting the next moves of my life. Whether that move is for the weekend, the next trip, the next week, or the next speaking engagement; having the condo to myself and my dog for the day while my roommate is at work is always really nice.
This morning, I opened my Facebook messages while I was still laying down this morning and found a few notes from some friends from the past few days. I’m usually pretty miserable at checking these notifications but for some reason when I woke up ahead of schedule this morning, I decided that I wanted to clear them out. I had a link from my boss, that was a very, VERY inspirational TED talk. You all know my love for TED talks, so I wanted to share this one with you here.
There are so many things I want to talk about from this TEDx talk. Here’s “The prison of your mind” from a few years back by Sean Stephenson at TEDxIronwoodStatePrison. The theme of this particular event was “Infinite Possibilities.” Enjoy, and check out my thoughts after the jump!
One of the reasons I really connected with Sean and his talk is because I had a somewhat similar diagnosis as Sean when I was a kid. Not quite as a grim, but my parents say that my doctors claimed I wouldn’t live to the see the age of 8.
As Sean says, many years later “All of those doctors are dead, and I am the only doctor that remains.” What a punch line! So, Sean says: “Never believe a prediction that does not empower you.” This my trademark optimism at its finest. It’s really important, to me, to follow this mantra of looking on the bright side in my personal life, my professional life … my every walk of life!
“I was born to rid this world of insecurity.”
What an epic mission statement THAT is. That’s pretty intense. I don’t know if I would ever be able to live up to his mantra here, but I love it. He knows his mission, he knows what he wants to do, he knows what his passion is. I often refer to HESONWHEELS as my passion project. Ridding the world of insecurity would probably be Sean’s, don’t you think?
“I am only an expert on one thing – and that it is how to be me. And I do it well.”
I tell people – especially students that I mentor – on the daily: everyone is an expert on themselves. That’s crucial to understand in life. The way I like to phrase it is that “If you don’t think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, no one else will.” I think this mindset leads you not towards cockiness but towards confidence. And if you’re not confident, then it will be pretty challenging to be a leader or a trail-blazer in your field. Which is what I choose to be. Like Sean says, “I have chosen a life of strength.”
Finally, I’ll leave you with these words that Sean shared toward the conclusion of his talk which I think are most powerful:
“Real prisons do not have guards. The real prison is up here [in your mind]. And we’ve all got it. I wish you freedom within [those] walls.”