Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Blake Haxton, one of the most inspiring Paralympic Rowers of the United States. Blake went through a lot of trauma after getting very sick at a very young age. Today, he tells us how he was able to get over this obstacle by shifting his mindset and how he was able to re-define freedom—not as having a lack of restriction but having the right constraints.
Let’s dive into this episode and be inspired with Blake’s story about how he rose up against trauma and how his shift of mindset led him into great success.
[00:01 – 15:00] Opening Segment
At present, Blake is training for not just one but two Olympic sports and works fulltime as a Research Analyst. But before he got to where he is now, he first tells us what he went through in his senior year of high school that cost him his two legs, 20 surgeries, and being incoherent and sometimes unconscious for six weeks.
Blake contracted the necrotizing fasciitis or a flesh-eating disease. However, this ordeal did not end after having his two legs amputated as his other organs also suffered complications as an aftermath of the infection. Fortunately, after 20 surgeries, even the hospital staff are commenting that Blake is getting better quickly. After being hospitalized since March of that year, he was finally able to go home in July and started to get ready to face new challenges.
[15:00 – 25:19] Gratitude Mindscape
If we think about someone who went through what Blake did, we’ll probably understand if they feel resentful towards life at first. However, this is the exact opposite of what Blake felt. Instead of being resentful or sad, he chose to respond to his situation with gratitude. And with all that’s happening in the world right now and people experiencing a lot of setbacks, I’m sure we can get a lot of inspiration from how despite everything he went through, Blake still chose to have a grateful mindscape.
First in his things to be grateful for is having his family who supported him. When you’re facing challenges, just think about people surrounding you who support you and draw strength from them.
Another valuable advice is to stop comparing yourself to others. Just always think about your own goals, and don’t let challenges keep you from reaching them. Think that whether you reach your own goals or not, all depend on your mindset.
[25:20 – 35:44] The Right Constraints
People usually define freedom as the lack of restriction. However, to Blake, this is far from reality. For him, it’s not about having no restrictions but having the right constraints.
Blake adds that we don’t get to pick what constraints we’re going to face. However, we can pick our attitude towards those constraints to maximize who we are. And in turn, we’ll only be able to maximize who we are if we first discern what our real purpose in life is.
If you’ve previously listened to some of my other episodes, you’ve probably already noticed that this is not the first time we’ve talked about finding one’s purpose as the secret to also finding success. I hope Blake’s journey has inspired you to also make the most of the situation you’re in.
For a last few pieces of advice, Blake also shares what his father told him when he’s starting to get frustrated when he’s still recovering. Blake’s dad told him that he’s probably just frustrated that his sport—rowing—is no longer what it used to be for him. However, he can still treat it like a new sport entirely. Indeed, this is exactly what he did and now, he can say that this is one of the best decisions he made—going back to the erg machine to train and going back to rowing.
[35-45 – 38:37] The FOCUS FIVE Segment
The FOCUS FIVE are five questions I ask every guest on my show. Keep on listening to find out what book Blake gifts most often; who would he talk to if he can get an hour of any person living or dead, from the past or the present, and why; that one thing he believes but most people will disagree with; his morning routine; and lastly, where are the best places we can connect with him online. (See the links below for Blake’s social media links!)
“This could happen to anybody, The risk we all take for getting out of bed, everyone has to take that risk, but not everybody has that network that would help them to mitigate the risk .” – Blake Haxton
“We don’t get to pick our constrain most of the time, but we get to pick our attitude in those constraints to maximize what we are.” – Blake Haxton
“Don’t follow your Passion; stay more real.” – Blake Haxton
Resources mentioned in the episode:
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