Marcus Aurelius Anderson is an author, TEDx speaker, Keynote Speaker and executive Mindset Coach. While preparing to deploy with the U.S. Army, Marcus suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed. After dying on the operating table twice, the surgeons saved his life but told him he’d never walk again. Having no other option, Marcus started doing some brutally honest soul searching, looking for the lesson to be learned from his injury. Once he started seeing his Adversity as a gift instead of a curse, something miraculous began to happen… Marcus now speaks, writes, inspires and teaches others to overcome their own Adversity and actualize their personal definition of success. His book “The Gift of Adversity: Overcoming Paralysis and Pain to Find Purpose” is available on Amazon and Kindle.
Marcus shares that what he is improving at isn’t different from what everyone else ought to be trying to improve at, staying inspired and motivated. He shared how his injury and recovery incline others to believe he is superhuman when he faces the same challenges we all do. “I still struggle and have to kick myself in the tail. I’m just like everybody else.” Marcus shared how his biggest change has been his mindset. He feels he owes everyone so much to actualize his fullest potential.
Changing one’s mindset and overcoming adversity are the areas Marcus is an expert in. He shared, “if we are willing to see the lesson, and grapple with hardship (adversity can become our companion).” Marcus battled with denial and anger, realizing he had to get over it to succeed.
“What do you actually want to get done? What’s your true goal? You must become crystal-clear about what it is you’re trying to accomplish.” Marcus shared that urgency and accountability are what everyone seems to lack. You have to have both to succeed.
Parkinsons Law: “The more time we have to do something, the more time we have to accomplish it, that’s how long we will wait to get it done.” A principle that Marcus shared has served him incredibly well is this one – you have to create effective deadlines.
Without a deadline time means nothing.
I didn’t ask Marcus this question because it would appear obvious that his largest obstacle was overcoming his diagnosis of paralysis. The unfortunate part is, I don’t think that is what he would have answered. What was evident in our conversation was that the challenge Marcus has to face every day, as we all do, is the internal conflict within himself to realize his potential.
Realizing that life is about stripping away the inessential and putting energy into what is truly essential. Learning to absorb “what is useful, discarding what is useless, and creating what is your own.” Yes, we talked about Bruce Lee during this section!
“It’s very simplistic,” he shared, “but in combat – efficiency is what is going to save my life.” You have to have one definitive action that protects you. “The money you make needs to go back into your business and back into your skills.”
Everyone wants the lifestyle but not do the work to do it.
Marcus shared that you must understand what you’re trying to accomplish and think about the long game while recognizing that it is not going to happen overnight. Everything is going to change so you have to be able to pivot as well.
When it comes to financial advice, the most crucial piece is indecision. Marcus shared how a mentor he talks about in his book taught him that indecision gets more people killed in combat than any one weapon. Indecision is the root of failure. Lastly, he touched on learning from your mistakes and avoiding repeating the same mistakes. You must aim to do it better next time.
Martial arts are a big part of Marcus’ life. You better believe when he has time off, you can find him at his local dojo training on wooden dummies or working his way through technical patterns. He has a special affinity for Cambodian boxing which he shares have had a large influence on martial arts today.
- We have it good in North America, so take advantage of it
- Adversity is Inevitable
- View Adversity as Opportunity
- Mindset coupled with Work Ethic
- Check your Ego at the Door
Thick Face, Black Heart
War of Art
Tabata protocol: Efficiency and intensity
- 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off (8 rounds) = growth hormone, testosterone & conditioning
I practice gratitude in a very realistic way:
- To really feel it, think about a loved one, how much they mean to you – embodying love
- What things are you truly grateful for? Let that seep in
I practice adversity by celebrating 3 things I overcame each day:
- If I’m tired and don’t want to train – I allow the discipline to push me through
In the morning Marcus meditates and wakes up on his own without an alarm clock. He then thinks about what it is he wants and focuses on it for that day.
Adversity is a gift. See it as an opportunity and embrace it.