The Critical Doer Attacks Problems And Creates Opportunities From The Inside Out
I’ve shared with you before that I enjoy archery. Any day on the archery range is a good day…today was exceptional.
I went to one of my favorite archery spots today…The Sportsman’s Outpost in Waverly, Alabama…to get in a few shots. When I walked into the indoor range, I met an extraordinary young man named Justin Strafuss.
Justin is from Collierville, TN (near Memphis)…he’s in town visiting his brother who is a senior at Auburn University. Here’s what I learned in a few minutes about Justin…he was born with cerebral palsy, he has a college degree in graphic design, he is a championship archer training to qualify for the United States Paralympic Archery Team, and by golly he is a critical doer!
As you know, archery is traditionally a sport that requires 2 arms and hands for holding the bow and releasing the string. That’s not possible for Justin…but look at this picture and see how he thought through the physical limitation and traditional way of doing things to still become an accomplished archer.
Justin is able to use his left arm for holding the bow, aiming, and pulling the string. He uses a shoulder harness with a release that he activates with his chin to release the string. If you’re wondering how good he is, take a look at this grouping:
Any archer…absolutely any archer…would be proud for this picture to be their shot grouping. But archery isn’t the only place where Justin had to find alternative solutions for a problem. Take a look at his YouTube video that shows how he uses one hand to tie his shoes…this video has been viewed over 10,000 times and when you see it you’ll understand why his parents say “Can’t is not in Justin’s vocabulary.”
Justin is a great example of how a critical doer attacks problems from the inside out. It’s easy to fall victim to “binary thinking” where the only solutions are the traditional way or no way. By focusing on what needs to be done rather than what can’t be done, we can be like Justin and find innovative ways to accomplish things far beyond what conventional wisdom would deem possible. That’s why I’m confident Justin will qualify for the team and represent our nation one day in the Paralympics…a grand celebration through sport of the unconquerable human spirit.
Justin’s example leaves us with this challenge…is there a problem where you are frustrated and feeling defeated because the usual solutions aren’t working? If that’s the case, follow this pattern of thought and action: (1) shift your focus from circumstances to the desired end state (2) mentally commit to opening your mind to new solutions (3) develop plans for new solutions and determine an order for trying them (4) start doing and continue doing, regardless of failures and difficulties, until you’ve accomplished your objective. It’s what a critical doer would…do!
You can follow Justin’s story on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re looking for a great sport that blends physical and mental challenges consistent with critical doer philosophy as well as putting you in contact with awesome people like Justin, consider a trip to your local archery shop and get started.
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