Full text of wheelchair athlete Dean Furness’ talk titled “To Overcome Challenges, Stop Comparing Yourself To Others” at TED Talks conference. In this talk, Dean shares how, after losing the use of his legs in an accident, he discovered a powerful new mindset focused on redefining his “personal average” and getting better little by little.
Dean Furness – Wheelchair athlete
It seems we have been measured almost all of our lives. When we are infants, with our height and our weight, and as we grew it became our speed and our strength.
And even in school there are test scores, and today with our salaries and job performance. It seems as if those personal averages are almost always used to measure where we are in comparison to our peers.
And I think we should look at that a little differently. That personal average is just that, it’s something very personal and it’s for you. And I think if you focus on that and work to build that, you can really start to accomplish some really amazing things.
This idea started for me on a December evening in 2011. I had just stepped outside to do our evening chores to feed our horses. I hopped into our tractor, and a few minutes later, a five foot tall, 700-pound bale of hay fell from the loader, crushing me in the seat of the tractor and in the process shattering my T5 and T6 vertebrae.
I didn’t lose consciousness, but I felt this buzz throughout my body, and I knew what had happened right away.
My hands were reaching for my legs, but my legs didn’t recognize anything touching them. And in fact, I couldn’t feel anything from the center of my chest down.