I was talking to Jon Morrow, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since birth. In the past few years he has created several multi-million dollar businesses.
The system was set up so that he couldn’t make money. If he made money, he would be cut off from Medicaid and his $120,000 in medical expenses would not get paid.
So he moved to Mexico, cut his medical expenses by 90% and started his businesses. Again, it wasn’t about the money. It was about doing something. It was about helping people. It was about feeling useful and doing things that excited him.
Ten years ago he got hit by a car. He ended up with his wheelchair on top of him and blood everywhere. He was in a hospital for a year. Couldn’t move. Everything was going wrong.
So after all this: paralyzed since birth, extensive hospital stays, a system created specifically to stop him from doing anything, how does he keep motivated.
He told me this:
“I am one of the oldest people alive with my disease. Many of us die in an assisted living home, many die from an extra dose of morphine to speed things along.”
What kept you motivated?
“There was a gun to my head. The gun was, I didn’t want to be in an assisted living home, watching TV all day, waiting to die.
“Every day I wake up with that gun to my head. Every day I live.”
Podcast shortcuts — (I really believe everyone should listen to this podcast. There’s so much here to help you be creative or just relate to someone as great as Jon. There are very few times in my life that I am so incredibly grateful to meet someone. And this was definitely one of those top 10 moments for me. I hope you enjoy too.
[23:00] — Jon told me how he developed a sense of self-worth.
[26:25] — “When I got into kindergarten, another kid called me disabled, and I said, ‘What does that mean?’ And, he started laughing.” Jon’s teacher came over and said, “You don’t know what that means?” He didn’t. So he asked his mom. She thought about it and said, “It means you can’t do something as well as someone else. But it also goes the other way.” She said, “Everyone in the world can’t do something as well as someone else…” So everyone in a sense is disabled. Jon took inventory of his skills. Then he mastered them.
[29:00] — Jon had twelve job offers after college. But he couldn’t accept any of them. He had to keep his Medicaid. And if he made more than $700 per month, the government would take it away. So he found a loophole. He worked for free. Then years later Jon asked the people he worked with for favors. They promoted his business. And he made half a million dollars in just nine months.
[1:11:50] — Jon was paralyzed from the neck down. He needed to reconstruct his reality. “I can only move my facial muscles,” he said. He would’ve went crazy. But he made a new plan. “I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts four–eight hours a day,” he said. His goal was to spend more time listening to inspirational stories than he actually spent in his own life. I needed to understand. I asked Jon, “Why was that your goal?” He said, “If you spend the majority of your time in worlds where people are accomplishing incredible things, all of a sudden that starts to seem normal.”Listen how Jon reconstructed his reality…
[1:16:20] — Jon said, “A lot of people are under the assumption they can get whatever they want without trading something that they have. And that’s just not the case.” When he hears a success story, he looks for the price. What did they sacrifice? Money? Sleep? Time? Relationships? Everything has a price. But how do you know what price you’re willing to pay? Jon tells you how.
James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.