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Roger Abramson: Turning a Disadvantage Into an Advantage


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

If you have a disadvantage, turn it into an advantage.

After my dad died from injuries in a car crash, which was two years after he’d left us, my mom and brothers and I were so poor, and lived in such a bad neighborhood, I was actually afraid to go outside, And for good reason.

So I just stayed home and had no friends. I quickly developed medical problems, and for years, none of the state-funded doctors could figure out what was wrong with me.

Turned out many of my neighbors and students were bullies and thieves, if not crack dealers. I heard there were 12 crack-house busts in one night.

So I went for days without speaking to anyone. Even in school. All I had was a pen and paper and my imagination. It wasn’t long before people noticed what a brilliant writer I was.

And I had to write, because I didn’t quite remember how to talk to people anymore. Decades later, after making more than 14,000 phone calls, and after studying thousands of hours of seminars, I finally developed my ability to speak almost as well as I write.

Many people speak so beautifully, so skillfully, they take it for granted. They’ll never know how truly gifted they are, and how much a person like me truly admires their amazing powers of speech, and dream of the day when I’ll be able to talk to my friends the way they talk to theirs.

We don’t have to be trapped inside our disabilities. Our disadvantages. Being poor focused my intellect. When my brothers shunned and rejected me because dad’s death had hit me the hardest, and my mom’s depression took me away from her, all I had were my books and my thoughts.

I made fast friends with men who’d been dead for decades inside the pages of books. Men with intellects so powerful, their thoughts shaped entire centuries.

It’s because of my hardships, my losses, my poverty, my rejection, my loneliness that I’ve become the kind of person who can see far into the future of all mankind, and see it as clearly as I can see out my own window.

And what I can see… I can shape.

And so can you.

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