Christopher Lawson's Reviews > Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want

Blind Ambition by Patricia Walsh
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it was amazing

√ Crashing is Part of the Plan

This book is an inspirational tale about a young woman struggling to cope with a horrific disease that left her with only the slightest smidgeon of eyesight. When this happened, the author went from "top of my high school class to struggling to read 'See Jane run' in Braille." It wasn't just academics that Patricia struggled with. She became a real problem in high school, and in 9th grade, she was expelled for drug violations from Washington State School for the Blind.

She eventually changed her direction--she chose to change. She discovered that she liked running. She was able to run on a track by sensing the edge of the inside lane. To mark her end point, she invented a sure-fire way to sense the end. She put a rock on the track, causing her to stumble: "If all went well, the rock I had left for myself would trip me on the way back. Crashing was a part of the plan. That's how I knew I needed to get off the trail and head home." Well, that's one way to do it.

BLIND AMBITION has plenty of good tips on goal-setting. She notes, for example studies from the Journal of Applied Psychology that identified three critical aspects of goal setting: Goals must be Specific, Difficult, and Group-centric. In addition, writing down goals and sharing progress leads to a far greater chance of accomplishment. Patricia calls her progress "following the root line," which means staying on the most efficient route: "Keep your focus on the task at hand, and avoid the everyday distractions of work and life."

Patricia's determination led her to become the fastest Woman on the U.S. Paratriathlon Team. The author developed a three-tier strategy, which she calls, "Fuel, Fire, Blaze." At the bottom is FUEL. This is the foundation for the higher goals; fuel includes the day to day tasks. Next up is FIRE, which is the intermediate step to the ultimate personal goal. The most powerful and important goal is called BLAZE. This is "the place where your greatest passions intersects with your greatest practice. It's your dream made real."

As useful as the author's goal-setting strategy is, that insight is not really the strength of BLIND AMBITION. After all, there are a plethora of books giving counsel on effective goal-setting. The idea of writing down and affirming goals is not really anything new or exciting. The value of BLIND AMBITION is not in the field of business strategy or personal enrichment arena; rather, it's the personal example--the striving, falling, getting up and pressing on. In her words, "Don't allow the fear of failure or the fear of looking like you're not smart keep you from taking risks or avoiding challenges."

The message of BLIND AMBITION is not so mundane as setting goals, but a bigger, more difficult task: Ignore your limitations. The author often calls this drive, "grit." To that end, "Make no excuses," "Unknow" your limits, "Constantly test your limitations," and then just ignore what appears to be a drawback.

The author demonstrated this grit during an "Ironman" competition. Whilst running the last stage (running a marathon), she realizes that she needs to increase her pace. She speeds up as her companion yells out, "Blind runner." This is yelled out not so Patricia can have an advantage, but so that the slower runners will get out of the way! So, the slower runners parted to let her pass. One man was despondent at being passed-- not so much by a woman, but by a BLIND WOMAN. This chap fell into the ditch, weeping. It was in this race that Patricia broke the world record for blind athletes.

At speaking events, the author often mentions a key core value: "How to fail," or what she calls, "Failing Gracefully." If you're not careful, you may begin to embrace learned helplessness. As a young blind teenager, the bar was set very low for her. She could have adopted much lower goals, but she chose not to. She failed often, such as having to withdraw from classes for which she was unprepared. She swallowed her pride, gracefully took the step back, then re-evaluated how to go forward.

Finally, after the stories of races won and challenges overtaken, Patricia Walsh admonishes the reader to "Be a source of light." Build someone up, instead of tearing them down: "I'm competitive both on the racecourse and in the office, and I love opportunities for my skills to shine. but more than anything, I care about the integrity involved in achieving. I don't want to take the easy way out by cutting someone else down."

That's the message of BLIND AMBITION. Not how great the author is, but how great YOU can be. That message comes through loud and clear.

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