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.”
(I really believe everyone should listen to this interview with Jon Morrow. There’s so much here to help you be creative or just feel that sense of relating to someone, learning and growing. 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.
Here’s some of what he taught me:
1. What’s Your Ability?
“When I got into kindergarten, another kid called me disabled,” Jon said. But he didn’t know what that meant. So he asked the kid. And he started laughing.
Then Jon’s teacher came over and said, “You don’t know what that means?”
Later that day, 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.
That gave Jon the motivation to take inventory of his skills. Then he mastered them.
2. Use The Power Of Free
Jon had twelve job offers after college. But he couldn’t accept any of them. Because if he made more than $700 per month, the government would take away his Medicaid. And he needed it to live.
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 9 months.
I asked him “What favors did you ask for?” “What were you trying to build?” “Why was it so successful?” He told me about the businesses he created, how he kept doubling and tripling his income. And how he created the value to back it all up.
3. Change Your Idea of “Normal”
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 4-8 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.”
4. What Are You Willing to Give Up?
Jon said, “A lot of people are under the assumption that 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?
5. What Are You Most Afraid Of?
I wanted to know how Jon wrote. Because he’s written several viral articles (I recommend reading a few):
- “On dying mothers and fighting for your ideas”
- and “How to quit your job, move to paradise and get paid to change the world.”
He is the epitome of overcoming obstacles.
I wish I could become more like Jon. Motivated by my fears. If there’s one takeaway I got from him (besides his spirit, his drive, his perspective), it was this. Fear is an opportunity.
Jon was paralyzed from the neck down at birth. It motivated him. Because he knew he could end up in a nursing home. And nothing scared him more.
This interview first came out in 2017. This time last year. It exploded. I feel like it’s one of those interviews that people just share over and over again. And I’m glad I get to share it with you again today.
Links and Resources:
- Jon’s website SmartBlogger.com
- Jon’s most popular blogs that went viral: “On dying mothers and fighting for your ideas” and “How to quit your job, move to paradise and get paid to change the world”
- “How to accomplish big things even when you feel small”
- “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us” by Seth Godin
- Tribes: The Case Studies(which Jon was featured in) + it’s a free PDF
- Fight Club
Jon mentioned a few successes from his course:
- Danny Iny – Mirasee
- Jennifer Grisham – Everyday Bright
- Tommy Walker – (runs content for Shopify)