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Adversity to Advantage

Erik Weihenmayer, the blind athlete whose pursuit of the Seven Summits, ice scaling, hang-gliding and other outdoor adventure sports made for a riveting address to FMI General Session Monday, left behind enough inspiring remarks to last a few conferences. Following are a few stirring sound bites of Weihenmayer and his message of turning adversity into success:

"What’s more important than any one goal is what I call vision. ... not what you want to do or achieve in your life, more of an internal vision: A vision of how you see yourself living your life, impacting your world, serving people. What your legacy will be. I think sometimes we focus on a long list of goals and we get isolated and fragmented. We need to continually reconnect with a vision that gives your goals purpose and power.”

"It’s one thing to create a vision, it’s another thing to believe in it so strongly you can summon up the courage, the discipline and the relentless focus to live within its framework. How do your goals, day after day, year after year, bring you closer to that vision.”

"Blindness was like a storm that descended upon me with such force and such viciousness. I heard laughter in the school cafeteria that I wanted to be a part of but that passed me by. I was afraid I’d be swept to the sidelines, that I’d be forgotten, that my life would be meaningless."

“I thought to myself there’s something inside of us, a light that could feed on failure and on frustration and setbacks. In fact, use those things as fuel: The greater the challenge the brighter that light could burn. And that light could make us more focused and more driven, more creative."

“I don’t see myself as a crazy a blind guy. I’m not some blind Evel Kenevil getting shot out of a rocketship across the Grand Canyon. I think blind is fine. Blind and stupid? That’s fatal.”