I can’t just imagine the look of horror on the face of the doctor that delivered him.
The trauma of seeing a baby come out with deformed limbs; hands with no palms and just two fingers. And horrifically disfigured legs with 3 toes.
Roger Crawford was born on October 8th, 1960 with a rare genetic defect called Ectrodactylism. Which is the congenital absence of fingers or toes, and only affects one out of 90,000 children born in the United States.
Fast forward to today.
Roger is a Hall of famer, a professional tennis athlete, best selling author of 2 books translated into over 17 languages and a highly in demand public speaker to fortune 500 companies.
How could someone who could qualify as the ugliest person in the world from the day he was born achieve so much?
I will get into the nitty-gritty of that in a minute.
I see it everywhere: Facebook pages, Twitter sessions, Quora, online forums and all.
People are always the same question:
People abuse me because I’m too ugly. How can I be happy and confident?
I am so ugly and it’s affecting my self confidence. How can I recover?
My sister is prettier than me. How can I overcome the shame of not being confident?
And on and on like that…
I’m really touched every time I see this because I once suffered from being self conscious, too.
I’ve dropped some thoughts on this but I felt like I haven’t tackled this enough.
So I’ll be sharing with you ideas about how you can become ferociously confident even though you look horrible…
1. Let’s start with the issue of your minds
Do me a quick exercise.
Stop thinking and focus on your breath.
Breathe in….. Breathe out… Clear out your mind and focus on your breath. Now try to do that for a minute.
It’s called meditation and unless you’re a 20 year old zen practitioner, you just failed miserably in your attempt to quiet your mind just like the rest of us.
Your mind will keep swishing around like a housefly.
The problem you have now is that you think your mind is just one. I’ll prove to you that’s not true…
Another quick exercise: Try to not picture your ex in your kitchen cooking for you.
If you’re human you tried your best, and probably succeeded for a few seconds to not think of your ex in the kitchen.
But, eventually your mind will submit and you’ll start seeing the pictures of your kitchen and your ex.
Now, If your mind eventually wandered to what you didn’t want to think of, which mind was observing this?
TWO MINDS UNFOLDED
The truth is that your mind has two dimensions. One is the observing mind and the other is the thinking mind (called the monkey mind).
The observing mind is the one you employ when you don’t want to think of the kitchen. The thinking mind does what it wants and thinks of just that..
Your observing mind is under your voluntary control and your thinking mind is not..
The reason why I’m going over this shit about the two minds is – your two minds are fused together if you hate your looks.
It’s as simple at that. And you have to separate it ASAP.
The number one thing about the thinking mind is that it’s continuously influenced by external factors; meaning you’ll keep thinking and interpreting every damn thing that happens to you, both good and bad.
So, if you’re ugly, your thinking mind will keep fretting about it.
It’ll keep on cooking stories about your ugliness and its consequences.
Daniel Goleman, the bestselling author presents it in his book – “social intelligence” that we humans are all wired to connect to each other.
No matter whether you’re introvert or extrovert, you are wired to connect with people and when you don’t, you start to break down psychologically.
However, just to make things complicated your thinking mind also has a negative bias!
LESSONS FROM OUR ANCESTORS
The reason is that 1000000 years ago, when our ancestors were still evolving and all this widespread science and technology was nowhere to be found… Man couldn’t do surgery or kill wild animals with rifles and machine guns.
Our ancestors were naked, primitive and Sabre toothed Tigers were out to get them (I guess our flesh is pretty yummy).
So, in order for man to survive, he had to compare himself and his abilities to his surroundings.
He evolved the thinking mind that notices every negative thing about him and his surrounding.
He constantly asked – am I good enough, fast enough, smart enough, strong enough to survive?
It was hard then, if you weren’t good enough, you’d die. So survival relied solely on comparing yourself and yor ability to build yourself up…
Unfortunately, we all inherited this ability to compare ourselves with our surroundings.
You compare yourself to those who are more good looking than you, for example.
Your monkey mind will interpret your ugliness as a sign of low value. It’s programmed to do this. And this is the reason why you start to feel inadequate.
I have to explain this because I can just list some cool tips for you to take that’ll take you nowhere.
You have to come to this consciousness that your thinking mind is negative.
It’ll continue to focus on your inadequate traits such as looks, deformity, what you lack, etc.
I know some people will tell you to avoid TV and social media and that you shouldn’t even go out.
All these are plans headed for disaster.
What you have to do is accept this part of yourself.
You have to stop hating yourself and know right now that your mind is two and not one.
Because beyond your monkey mind is your observing mind that you can use to make decisions.
2. GOING BEYOND THE THINKING MIND
For you to become confident and self loving, you need to practice intentional self acceptance.
And you have to be intentional about it! Because it’s not intuitive, your thinking mind isn’t capable of it.
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” – Roger Crawford
In this world, bad things happen and everyone has their flaws.
Yours is your looks, for some it’s a speech disorder, others is attention deficit and cancer and sickle cell.
The fact is that nothing will change until you accept the way you look and then you have to accept that your monkey mind will obsess over it…
Here’s a quote from Roger Crawford:
We all have numerous flaws but what everyone fails to notice is that we all have our numerous strengths, too.
Accept your looks and know that your looks aren’t everything.
Confidence, intelligence, skills, social skills, persuasion skills, grit, and creativity are all important strengths that also count.
2 FINGERS, 3 TOES AND INTENTION
There was a time when Roger Crawford had the opportunity to meet someone with the same disability as him.
He was ecstatic and thought he’d finally meet someone who he can really connect with but when he met the guy, he was heartbroken.
The other guy was so bitter about his disability and kept complaining about how his disability has hindered him in life.
It’s so clear that the guy Rodger met had his two minds fused and could only see the negative.
It’s not that Crawford didn’t feel useless at a time in his life.
Growing up with a severe disability, people made fun of him. Rodger opted in to think differently which only the observing mind can do.
He chose to accept himself just as he is and believe in his greatness.
Here are four steps you can take to make the shift just as Roger did..
3. THE VERY FIRST BIG STEP
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James
You’re probably not very aware of your thoughts, you don’t observe your mind as it goes on its negative spiral.
Don’t you think it’s time this stopped?
I used to be a funny guy. I would allow my mind to do as it liked and my confidence kept plummeting.
Don’t be like me!
You’ll have to start noticing and then calmly accept these negative thoughts without any judgement.
You don’t have to feel bad about thinking this way.
You need to see these negative thoughts pattern as normal, it’s just your ancestral monkey mind trying to protect you.
The problem most people, including you make when the monkey mind is active is you believe what it says.
Then, you feel bad about it. Then, you lose confidence over it.
Compound this over time and you’ll end up a broken person.
WHAT can you do to increase your awareness?
Keeping a journal, meditation and constantly asking yourself what your thinking throughout the day are methods you can employ to increase your awareness.
Pick the one that clicks with you.
THE SECOND BIG STEP
The first step to acceptance is easy and wouldn’t cost you anything. However, the next step to ferocious confidence is slightly expensive.
You have to respond to your monkey mind.
It has been at it for a while and while it may be killing your self esteem, It’s not totally bad either.
Its there for a reason you know?
You have to respond to it by doing one little thing called your best.
Years back, I would watch MTV and start to beat myself up on how nasty I looked compared to those beautiful celebrities.
How would I ever get a girlfriend, huh?
The truth is – I was being lazy.
I kept feeding my monkey mind by doing absolutely nothing!
Then, I got some really smart advice to do my best to look good.
I got rid of my old clothes, started getting regular haircuts, hit the gym and got a better posture.
And I also got a better skincare product.
I completely transformed the way I looked in a few weeks and my monkey mind got remarkably quiet after that.
The very next step is to do your best to look good.
Get a better lotion, haircut, cut off the lose belly and dress nicer.
Stop. Being. Lazy.
THE THIRD BIG STEP
“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts, but rather a master of your own mind.” – Louis Hay
I told you earlier that the monkey mind is naturally programmed to seek the negative. Another thing also true about the monkey mind is that it’s programmable.
You can teach your mind to be more positive.
It is well known in neuroscience that you can rewire your thinking mind to be more positive by reciting positive Affirmations.
Don’t blow up on me just yet. Affirmations don’t work for everything but it certainly does for this.
I was once in a mastermind group and a member shared this with me.
Here’s what he did for over a month to rewire his mind.
He would repeat various self loving Affirmations in the mirror to himself for 5 minutes, non stop every morning. And every day for over a month.
Here’s a nice example of positive affirmations
Images courtesy of – markamoment via flickr.com
My mastermind partner used to be suicidal but he became self loving in a few weeks by doing this..
The one that works really well for me is – “I love myself”.
I kept saying it over and over even when it’s a monster that I see in the mirror. With time I got comfortable with my reflection.
Then, a time came where I automatically flashed a smile at my reflection any time I seen it.
You do freaking rock!
Find the Affirmations that works for you. Let Google help you out with that.
THE LAST VERY BIG STEP
Noticing our monkey mind is tiring, reciting Affirmations is tiring, keeping a nightly journal of your thoughts is a hell of a job.
I am lazy and you’re lazy. So what do we do?
Back in 1960 the doctor said Roger would never be able to walk and would likely have to be taken care of for the rest of his life.
But neither Roger nor his parents ever believed that this genetic defect would stop Roger from achieving greatness.
Rogers’s parents always told him that he was only as handicapped as he wanted to be.
They never let Roger feel sorry for himself and encouraged him to always do what he wanted to do, even if it might be a little more challenging.
It helps to deliberately believe in your own inner strength and forgive yourself, but I wouldn’t sugarcoat it and preach that it’s easy.
It’s definitely not. It’ll help a lot if someone believes in you first.
If you can be with those that give you unconditional love, it’ll boost your self-confidence significantly.
This is why you need support. You need to surround yourself with people that will love and believe in you, and wouldn’t ever judge you on how you look.
These people are not so hard to find. But, first you need to remove yourself from the surroundings of negative people.
If you have friends with victim mentality, quit that friendship now.
I’m forever lucky for the support I got from my Uncle’s family.
They loved me unconditionally, gave me books to read, gave me the advice to do my best… and even took me in for months without rent.
I don’t know if I’ll be the person I am now without them.
Look for meet-ups coming up, self love workshops. Or just visit that loving family member of yours.
Don’t be afraid to show your true feelings. It’s okay to share them and let others help you..
How to be more confident in spite of your hideous looks?
It comes down to raising your self-awareness so that you can start practicing self forgiveness intentionally.
Then do your best to look good and surround yourself with loving folks. That’s a lot but it’s what you have to do to become confident in your own skin.
I wish you the best.
Let me have your comments on this. :)