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Beating the Odds

Motivation by the Numbers: 200,000

“Any man who keeps working is not a failure.”

So said Ray Bradbury, famed writer of science fiction.

Bradbury, however, could scarcely have imagined how hard fellow author Jean-Dominique Bauby had to work to produce a single book. He had to blink 200,000 times.

This week, DR. Ron Gilbert and I are producing a multi-media seminar on “Motivation by the Numbers.” Dr. Gilbert is offering his numbers on his Success Hotline at (973) 743-4690. We’re inviting everyone to offer their favorite motivational number.

Bauby had to blink with his left eyelid because that was the only part of his body he could move. A stroke had turned him overnight from editor of Elle magazine into a paralytic with locked-in syndrome.

Despite that devastating life turn, Bauby wrote “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” the story of his life both before and after his stroke.

A single word could take two minutes.

”It is a simple enough system,” Bauby was quoted in the New York Times. ”You read off the alphabet . . . until, with a blink of my eye, I stop you at the letter to be noted. The maneuver is repeated for the letters that follow, so that fairly soon you have a whole word.”

To put it another way, each of those 200,000 blinks gave Bauby a chance to get discouraged, to get tired, or to quit. No matter how he may have felt, he never gave up.

Most importantly, those 200,000 blinks did more than produce a best-selling book. They removed any excuse that you and I may have for quitting. Whatever you’re doing today, chances are that it will be easier than writing a book using only one eyelid.

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Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.

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