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Using Incredible Strength of Mindset to Succeed Despite Overwhelming Obstacles With Nick Santonastasso

The BiggerPockets Podcast
59 min read
Using Incredible Strength of Mindset to Succeed Despite Overwhelming Obstacles With Nick Santonastasso

If you’re looking to have your mind completely blown and walk away feeling like you can and WILL do anything, this show is for you! Today’s guest is inspirational figure, fitness model, and Vine sensation Nick Santonastasso. Nick shares his personal story and holds nothing back, describing how he’s overcome the difficulties of being born with Hanhart syndrome and the incredible mindset he’s developed along the way that led to him meeting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, becoming an online viral sensation (and scaring a character from The Walking Dead as a zombie), climbing a mountain despite the absence of three limbs, and more!

Nick shares tons of actionable steps for overpowering fear, overcoming and adapting to any environment, harnessing the power of gratitude, and more than we can list here! If you’ve ever been stuck in a personal rut and want to find a way to establish a mindset that ALL real estate investors should be adopting, listen to this episode and share it with someone you love!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: This is the BiggerPockets podcast show 304.

You are listening to BiggerPockets radio. Simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who benefitted from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon: What’s going on brother, this is Brandon with the BiggerPockets podcast here with my lovely, wonderful assistant to the host, Mr. David Greene.

David: I’d just Vanna White at this point.

Brandon: David, what have you been up to? I know you’re buying a real estate deal. Tell me about it.

David: Well, I’m trying to. This whole point up to when we recorded the podcast where I’m in negotiations with the wholesaler right now trying to find a way to put a deal together and make it work.

Brandon: Nice, nice. Well, good luck on that you know. Where’s it at?

David: So the house is in Florida. Basically he brought it to me, he gave me the number, and he said the rehab should be exed.  When I went and got my estimate, the rehab was high by 2,000 more than what I was getting.

Brandon: That never happens.

David: Right, right, right. And of course, that’s 10K more now before we started so it will grow even bigger. So I said, hey man I’m sorry I can’t make it work. Thanks for bringing it to me. You know, please bring me your deals in the future. I’ll give you the answer right away. So he’s circling back a week later saying, hey turns out I really need to move this thing really quick. Can you close in like five days? I already had the inspections done because I had those ordered while I was getting my rehabs. So I know, I just declared to Todd that I can buy it.

So now we have to find a way to get the price close to where it will work. So we looked at my rehab budget. He thinks he can do the work cheaper than what my guy was going to do it for. So he’s going to handle some of the most expensive part of the rehab. I know he has a good crew because I worked with them. And we’re lowering the price.

So now we’re getting really close to the number we want to be at. I think I’m going to put this one together. It’s going to have an ARV of about 210 to 215.  And I’m probably going to be all in for around like 150 to 160, it looks like.

Brandon: Nice. That sounds like a “brrrr” deal to me.

David: Yup. It’s getting cold over here.

Brandon: It’s cold over here. All right. With that, let’s get to today’s show. Like I said, today’s show is going to be different. We have Nick Santo-to…dah! Every time I butcher his last name. Nick Santo-to…You do it.

David: Santonastasso.

Brandon: Santonastasso.

David: I’m a little Italian, mixed Italian so I just have an advantage over you. You look like you’re a Viking from Norway who cannot pronounce these Italian names.

Brandon: I am a Viking from Norway. So Nick is the guy me and David or David and I at a conference recently. And we just both thought he was fantastic. Nick was born with a syndrome that he will explain on the show. But he was born with no logs and only one arm. And even on that arm, he’s got only one finger on that arm.

So he talks about that experience. He had a very low chance of survival to begin with and how I guess, has grown to be a super inspiring, very motivating, I guess, individual speaker, author. He’s got a new book coming out. And I feel like he’s just a fantastic guy.

And the reason why we wanted him here on the BiggerPockets podcast, obviously it’s a real estate show. It’s because the stuff he talks about, your mind-set changes. Or something that almost every newbie, and not even newbie, right? Experienced people. I face stuff as well right? These things hold us back. And if you can breakthrough these mind-set things, it will push you so much further.

So we don’t go into real estate at all. This might be the first show, we haven’t even mentioned the word real estate. Well I guess we did give some examples. This show, you need to listen to this show. Plus his stories are amazing. Like, he met The Rock and he got to scare and dress up as a zombie and scared the guy from The Walking Dead. The motorcycle guy. Yeah, just super cool. You’ll love him.

David: Nick is all about levelling up. And if you’re a newbie, to you, levelling up is getting your first deal, your first couple of deals. If you’re an experienced investor, levelling up is getting at your business and making it run more passively and more deals.

Whatever your issue is, growth is your friend. Nick is all about how you master the art of growing. He created this mind-set. That’s what his super power is. This guy, when you get one listening to him, you walk away knowing I can do anything. I can anything that I want and you’re not thinking thoughts that are contrary to that.

So you got to listen to this episode. You probably want to share it with some friends, right? No matter who you are, when you hear Nick speak, you will feel different about yourself and you’re off to the change that you’re looking for.

Brandon:  There you go. I love it. Now before we get to Nick, let’s hear a quick word from today’s show’s sponsor.

All right. I have to interrupt for just a moment to remind you that Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all almost here. Up to 75% off at the BiggerPockets book store. No joke! Get ready to take your real estate investment up a notch by saving serious money. Visit BiggerPockets.com/store starting next Friday.

Brandon: All right. With that, let’s get to the show with Nick. I don’t want to waste any more time with this introduction so let’s bring him in.

All right, Nick, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. Good to see you again.

Nick: Thank you for the opportunity brother. I’m happy to be here.

Brandon: Nice. All right, Nick. So before we go any further into the show to hear your story, I want you to teach me how you say your last name. I stumble every time. How do I do that?

Nick:  Got it. So it’s San-to-nas-tasso.

Brandon: I’m not going to get that.

Nick: Did not help.

Brandon: San-to-nas-tasso.

Nick: Yeah. Perfect!

Brandon: Hey! Look at that. Try it, David, five times fast. Go.

David: Santonastasso. Santonastasso. Santonastasso. Santonastasso. Santonastasso.

Nick: He’s a pro.

David: Is it Italian in nature?

Nick: Yeah, it’s Italian.

David: Ok. So does it help when you make the Italian hand when you say it? That’s what I was doing under the desk. That’s why I got about it so fast. That’s the secret.

Brandon: That’s funny.

David: Santanastasso!

Nick: Yeah, there you go.

Brandon: Ok so now we got your last name nailed down. I’m probably going to butcher that when record the intro and what, but whatever. Let’s go into your story a little bit. Hear about who are you, why you are, why are we talking to you today? Tell us about your story.

Nick: Yes. So I’m Nick Santonastasso. I’m 22 years old. I was born in New Jersey. And so in 1996, when my mom was pregnant with me. It was her last pregnancy. Everything was going fine, you know they went into their first ultrasound and it was great. Second ultrasound was great. And then they went in for a late ultrasound and basically you know they sat my parents down, pulled the baby up on the screen and you know the doctor started having a puzzled look on her face.

And my parents were like, you know, what was going on? And they say, you know, from the looks of it, it doesn’t look like your baby’s limbs have developed. It looks like his legs are missing, he’s missing his arm, and he might have a cleft palate. You know they started listening to a bunch of these things and that it could have been the case.

And in that moment, it’s crazy, and in that moment, my parents looked at each other and you know they said, well we’re going to see where life takes this kid. Focus on the 30% and not that 70% because they just gave me a 30% chance to live. And that’s what I always tell people. We have that same choice as my parents in life and that’s like are you going to focus on the good in life or are you going to focus on the bad? Which focusing on the bad will never serve you in any situation.

And so you know they said, Mr. and Mrs. Santanostasso, it looks like he has about 30% chance to live because they diagnosed me with Hanhart syndrome. And what Hanhart syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that either leaves the baby with undeveloped limbs or undeveloped organs. And so at the time of my birth in ’96, I was the 12th baby in medical history that they’ve ever seen this happen to.

And so out of the 12, 8 of them have passed away due undeveloped organs. So the baby’s born and they can’t breathe on their own, can’t eat on their own, and they later on pass away. And so I was born, they immediately did tests on my organs and it came back 100% healthy. The only thing that was affected were my limbs. And that’s kind of, you know, where I talk about living in a state of gratitude and having that can literally change your life.

And you know as a 22 year-old dude now you know I think about the rare chance of just being human and then the fact that I made it through something that I had 30% chance to live. And so I always tell people, my tribe, my guys, every time we wake up, we think about five things we’re grateful for, we write them down. The emotion of gratitude outweighs all the negative emotions and what I mean by that is it’s emotionally impossible for you to feel grateful and sad at the same time, or grateful and mad because that emotion of gratitude is just so heavy. It just outweighs all the negative emotions.

And so as soon as I was born, the doctors basically handed over a list to my parents. Especially back then, you know, when being born disable it wasn’t very, you know, it was frowned upon. Things were shun and they were hidden and so it was a weird time in the world and so they handed over this list to my parents. They were like, here, here are all the things your son won’t be able to do. It was just a list. Your son can’t feed himself, dress himself.

And basically, they told my parents I’d be a big baby. That’s why I’m super grateful to the way my parents reacted because that’s all life is, how you react to situations and they were like, thanks but no thanks. You know I’m not going to, you know, regardless if you’re a professional, I’m not going to let you put limits on my son. You know, let’s go see what he’s capable of doing.

Brandon: You know what, If I can jump in real quick, I want to pull this point there. I think it’s interesting. Yeah, they give you a list, or your parents a list of things that you would not be able to do. I can totally translate that to almost everybody in life have these things that are predefined, right? Like, oh you were born in a poor area, you can’t become wealthy. Or hey, you were born with whatever, you were born in this family or in this country, or with this limitation of some kind, hey that kid has a learning disability and you know, he’s clearly not going to make it anywhere.

I think it’s interesting the way your parents were like, thanks but no thanks. We’re not going to let somebody else define what our kid is not going to be able to do. And I wish people would have thought about that in life.

Nick: Yeah, absolutely right? Because people are primed and programmed to their environment, right? If they have a school that’s run down and not much is going on, the teachers don’t even believe in the kids and the kids think that no one believes in them. And you know, I think the important part about that is that people need to realize that no one’s going to save you, only you’re going to save you. Only you can get yourself out of whatever hole you’re in. No one’s coming to save you.

And that’s what I kind of realized. I get into that when I’m at my lowest point but kids go to school and say their school’s run down. They don’t even see the school getting fixed up because no one cares. They think they’re just not going to go anywhere in life, right? Because it’s crazy, it’s our environment and everything around us that programs us to have those limiting beliefs.

And so, my parents were like yes but no thanks and the one thing, the way they raised me is super crazy and I’m super grateful for it. Basically from the earliest of ages, my parents sat me down in the most polite way and said, Nick, the world’s not going to stop for you because you were born like that. You know, this happened. But you got to keep moving forward. Things are going to be hard and you’re going to take more time than other kids. But you’re not giving up and feeling sorry for yourself.

And so they, in the most polite way, like I said, put things in front of me. And so for example, they put my clothes in front of me and say all right Nick, try to figure it out. Or they would put me on my high chair and put food in front of me and a utensil and say Nick, figure it out. And you know, I always tell people, and I ask parents, now you can sit here and self-reflect and ask  yourself, are you doing too much for your kids?

Are you letting your kids get away with too much? Are you not letting them fall on their knees? You know? Because my parents, basically, by putting these trials and tribulations in front of me and letting me fall on my face at that age, I got my mind set in the rhythm of ok, it’s not can’t, but it’s how. You know? Things are going to be hard, things are going to take more time, but it’s how am I going to run this obstacle? How am I going to breakthrough this barrier?

And I think that is the same exact mind-set. That’s not just a Nick mind-set. That’s the mind-set everybody needs to have. Right? You know, things get hard. Things get fast. We get overwhelmed by the challenges that we have in front of us, right? You need to stop and say, ok, how am I going to get through this because not only entrepreneurs but humans in general, they have the tendency to start with can’t.

So what I mean by that is if someone says if you, or something says well I’m going to do this, their immediate reaction is to say, oh you can’t do it because this, this, this and this. Well that doesn’t empower you. That doesn’t do anything for you. It’s not going to get you anywhere so why don’t you start listening to why you can or how you can. It’s more empowering.

And people shoot themselves at the foot right before the finish line. And they’re saying this is going to happen and they can’t do this. Right? It’s just the way you look at it.

Brandon: There’s a book out there called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’m a huge fan. A lot of people on this show talk about it, right?  Yes so he was talking about in that book, one of the most life-changing things I have ever read, was when I was 21 or 22, and he said in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, that poor people say they can’t afford it and wealthy people or rich people say or ask how do I afford it. Right?

When I read that, I was like, he’s so right. It’s not just about money, right? It’s about everything. Some people say I can’t, some people ask how. If there is one thing I can narrow my entire life down, that has probably made the greatest impact. That one phrase. Instead of saying I can’t, it’s how can I?

Nick: Absolustely. And I think the same thing with changing your life, right? It’s like people don’t realize how much they say they can’t. And so when you hear yourself say can’t, change that. I had someone in the call yesterday. He was. I’m not creative. And I told him, well instead of telling yourself you’re not creative, just say you’re getting better at being creative each and every day.

Give yourself something empowering. Because if you always tell yourself you’re stupid, you’re probably right. You know? But if you give yourself a better meaning, it empowers you to go ahead. And you know, to be more creative or learn more.

And so growing up, you know, my parents threw me in a bunch of things. I have a funny story. One of the things they threw at me at an early age was a skateboard. And so they put me on a skateboard on my stomach. And I always compare skateboard to life because if you’re not pushing, you’re dying. If you’re not trying to get better, you’re not going to move forward. And so what are you doing?

And so they put me on a skateboard on my stomach and I was riding it like a skateboard. And then entrepreneurs or hustlers, we always want more right? And so Nick finally realized that if I sat upright, I could get much more momentum and speed. And then finally that’s not enough and so after a long day of skateboarding, I said, hey mom and dad, come outside, I learned a trick. And my mom was, oh God, what now Nick?

And so I brought them outside and you know I kept them at the bottom of a hill and I rode my skateboard all the way to the top of the hill. And I said, mom and dad are you ready? And so I come flying down this hill and right when I get to the bottom, I pop up on a handstand. My face was two inches from the pavement and I was oh my God, did you see that?

They were freaking out, like, dude you’re crazy. And the reason why I say that is when I posted that picture of the handstand when I was a young kid, it was one of my more iconic picture. But what people currently see was the handstand. They did not see how many times Nick fell on his face trying to do the handstand.

And that’s the same thing in life because we all look up to entrepreneurs. We all look up to businessmen. We all look up to actors, dj’s, whatever it may be. But what we currently see is what they are currently. Their current success. We didn’t see how many times they were told no. How many times they were denied or they weren’t good enough, pretty enough. Whatever it may be.

And so that’s what I always tell people. We’re all going through this journey in life. The ups and downs. And my advice to you is embrace the journey. The beauty behind life is the contrast of life. If we were put on this earth and everything was easy, we’d be wow, this is really boring. And so in those times of hardships, those times that, man, this is uncomfortable, this is scaring me. Embrace that. Because that is, there’s some massive personal growth that will come ahead. And that means if you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re growing.

And so when things are kind of boring and stagnant, get out of there. That’s your key to say, ok, everything’s going to start pivoting or start growing.

And so before middle school, I didn’t realize I was different. I didn’t realize this package I had going on. I was just, you know, a young kid living life. And then I got into middle school and high school. But middle school I think we can agree that that’s one of the most judgmental pack.

Brandon: It sucks.

Nick: That’s one of the most judgmental times of our lives, our kids’ lives. So I got into middle school and it was a big slap in the face for me. What I mean by that I realized the kids, you know, little teasing. I never got bullied but there was always, you know, little teasing, you know, throwing names.

I realized that although I wasn’t any slower mentally, but because I had someone pushing me on a wheelchair, or someone’s sitting with me in class, kids correlated me with being slow. And you know I was just out of shape, I was depressed and I was in that thought you were either born with confidence or you didn’t have it. It was just acquired through birth or you didn’t have it.

So that was one of my limiting beliefs. I was not confident, I would never have confidence. And at a very low point in my life, I didn’t want to go in public, I didn’t want to look in a mirror. I was absolutely disgusted with myself and my body. I was at rock bottom. And you know some of the thoughts that were going through my head that my best way out was to take my life.

I was so disgusted and so uncomfortable with my body that it’s not worth it. And you know I was going into high school and in my family, my family in public I feel, still to this day, I’m the glue. I’m that positive figure. If everyone’s having a bad day, they call Nick and they want Nick to talk.

And so I feel like I had this role even at an early age. So when I was at this low point in my life, I put on a mask because I knew that just a simple smile from myself would change someone. Right? It can change their demeanour. And so even though I was at this super low point in life, I put a mask in school and you know I just wanted to be that person for people.

So I got into freshman year and I’m at my all low. I need to figure out a way to dig myself out of this hole and that’s what I was saying before. You need to realize that no one’s going to save me. Nick, no one’s coming to save you. The only person that’s going to make a drastic change in your life whether that’s physical, mentally or emotionally, spiritually is you. Nothing’s going to dig you out of this hole.

And so my best friend Dan. My best friend during fresh man year. He’s still my best friend up to this day. He wrestled his whole entire life. Don’t ask me why, but it was freshman year and he said to me be a bowler. It was really black and white. Super different. And he comes up to me and he goes, Nick, you try those things, you can go bowling. All you do is just roll the ball down the lane and then when you go back you get to eat cheese fries. Like easy.

And I’m, dude, I’m in. I mean I’m Italian. I’m all about food. So anything that’s got to do with food, I’m in. And so I was, all right Dan, I’ll try out for the bowling team. Because I’m up for something, I’m looking for a sport. I’m looking for an extra-curricular activity. I’m looking for a sport. That’s going to elevate me, elevate my confidence, make me feel good about myself.

And so I always tell people I’m from New Jersey. You have your JV sports, you have your varsity sports. So your JV is not your starting line-up and your varsity is your starting line-up. And so our varsity team were studs and our JV team was undefeated. Until Nick joined the team.

I joined the team. I gave our bowling team our first loss. And I soon realized that, you know, bowling was not for me. I wanted to push myself. You know more physically and mentally. And so I was going into sophomore year and my order brother who is about six years older than me, he wrestled through my high school. And in New Jersey, wrestling was a big deal. It’s like football in some places. It’s huge.

So I always looked up to wrestlers. I thought they were just the coolest thing ever. And so by sophomore year, Dan went back to wrestling like he should have and all my other best friends were stud wrestlers from my high school. And they were like, Nick, you know, you always try new things. That’s one thing we can give to you. You always try new things, you always get out of your comfort zone. Why don’t you try wrestling?

And I said I can’t. I said I can’t immediately. The reason why I started with can’t is because this arm, this limb is about five inches longer than it is now. And my bone was growing faster than my skin. So it was like your finger but super sensitive, I couldn’t touch it on things. I can’t really touch it on things. I would tuck my arm in and because the bottom line is, if I would hit the arm hard enough, my bone came through my skin.

And so I was like, oh you know, I can’t wrestle, my arm. And I started marinating on this thought. I started marinating. And I was well, I’m at this low point. I don’t feel confident, I feel disgusted in my skin. And wrestlers are the coolest thing in my life. That’s what I think the coolest thing is. If I can be a part of the team, to be with my boys, even if that’s in the wresting room. Or you know rolling around the hallway just with the wrestlers, that would make me feel better about myself.

And so I came home one day. I waited for both my parents to come home. And you know my parents supported me in anything I wanted to do but this was a little bit different. And so I sat them down and I said, mom and dad, I want to be a wrestler. And my mom was, oh no Nick. God forbid, you know wrestling’s the most physical sport. What if you’re on the mat, you hit your arm, your bone comes through your skin, what are you going to do then?

And here I am, a 16, 17 year-old kid and I looked at them and said, can we cut it off? And they said, what? And I said, yeah can we cut it off? And they said Nick, first of, the right term is amputation. Don’t go aggressive with your terms. It’s not cut off, it’s amputate. So, all right, can we amputate my arm? And they were, Nick is this something that you really want to do? And I said, yes.

This has the opportunity to instil more confidence and the funny thing is I never told my parents I was at that low point. Because I didn’t want that to affect them negatively. I didn’t want that to happen. So I was, yes this would just make me feel better about myself. I want to do it.

And you know, that’s what I always tell people. Whether you’re trying to become a better real estate agent or a better investor, or building a business or a better husband or a wife, whatever you’re focusing your energy on. You need to give it a 110% effort or you’re literally selling yourself short. It sounds mainstream, it sounds cliché, but that’s the real deal.

And I always tell people, I like cars. So if you treat your body like a Ferrari, if you look at yourself as a Ferrari and you’re putting, you know, regular gas into a Ferrari, how is that Ferrari supposed to perform? It’s not going to perform like a regular Ferrari. You got to put the right fuels, you got to do the right things so you can operate at that high level.

And so I tell people whatever I’m focusing my energy on, I’m all in. I’m fully invested. And so with a couple hours of persuasion, my parents were like, all right. If this is something that you really want to do, we’ll find a doctor to do the amputation. So on my sophomore year of high school, we scheduled the amputation and what they did was they lasered five inches of my bone off and they did a skin graft. So they pulled extra skin from up here and pulled it over so I can cushion it. I remember telling the doctor, doc if I come out of the surgery and I can’t beat someone over the head with this, we’re going to have a problem. I’m going to need to be able to beat someone up with this.

And so I come out of surgery. Everything went well. I was super pumped up because this was my next moment, to become a wrestler. And I swear I always tell people I was the happiest kid that just cut his arm off. I went to high school. I was pumped up and people were like, dude why’d you cut your arm off? And I’m like, I’m going to become a wrestler.

And people laughed at me. They laughed at me and they said, dude let’s be real. You can’t be a wrestler, let alone an athlete. How are you going to do that, you have no legs and one arm? And that’s what I always tell people. That you’re always going to have that outside noise. Even that list the doctors handed to my parents, that was outside noise.

And when I got to middle school, there was outside noise. People told me I couldn’t be a wrestler. When they would call me names, I’m going to use it as motivation. And so on my junior year, I tried out for my wrestling team. When I was in JV, I got my butt kicked. My only win was my coach putting me out for a varsity forfeit so I got my varsity jacket. I was, thanks dude I don’t want it. I didn’t earn it. I don’t care; I want to get it legit.

In my senior year, I’m through figuring out how to be the best wrestler I can possibly be. I can use my head as another arm, another leg. And the defence were just all these nitty-gritty things. My senior year I came out to regionals as a 106 pounds varsity wrestler from high school. And you know, I’m still at that stage of why. I’m in this victimhood of why, why me? There’s millions of people born, why do I have to be born like this? Why do I have to go through these challenges? Why do people have to make fun of me? I’m trying to find my why.

And that’s kind of my whole message here especially with my book which we’ll talk about later, is how to go from victim mentality to victor. How to become victorious in your life, how to become victorious in each and every event, cultivate that victorious mind-set. And that’s what I always tell people. You look at me, a guy with no legs and one arm, how can I relate? And I always tell people, physically I can. I’m good-looking, I have muscles, people are aah, you know, my god. But in reality we all have the ability to cultivate a mind-set. We all have a mind-set.

And so it’s funny but that’s what people want to know. How Nick thinks. And so, wrestling saved my life. And what I mean by that is I was still 17, senior year, but that was two more wins I got the previous year. And that’s what we call progress. As long as we’re moving forward each and every day, we’re winning. And so I would have gymnasiums back to see me wrestle. As you understand, I’m not that good. And even when I lost we’d get standing ovations and would piss me off because I’m competitive. I’m like why are you clapping for me? I just got my butt kicked.

And I came off the mat one time and this lady came up to me crying. And I was, oh my god, what did I do wrong? And she gets down on my level and she was, Nick I want to thank you. And you know here I am at 17, 18 kid and I was, for what? I just got my butt kicked lady. And she was, my daughter’s over there on the side-line. And she never wanted to do a sport. And she never wanted to do extra-curricular activities. And she saw you out there wrestling. She asked me to try these things. She asked me to try new sports. She wanted to sign up for track and field. You broke the barrier. You did something that, as a parent, I couldn’t do. I want to thank you.

And my mind just exploded. Oh my god. Because I was on the mat for myself. I was trying to dig myself out of a hole. And I was motivating people passively. Well imagine how many lives I could change, how many perspectives I could change for the better if I focus my energy on helping people? I thought I was the most wild thing that can happen.

And it was also a realization that everything I thought that was negative and disgusting about myself turned out to be my biggest empowerment, my biggest influence, my biggest tools. And that’s the message to people is the best thing you can be and the most attractive thing you could be is be yourself. Your authentic self. And by you being your authentic self, you’re going to attract the right tribe. You’re going to attract the right support team. People that love you for you and support you for you.

And the tattoo on my bicep, it’s probably upside down on the screen, but it says, you laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at you because you’re all the same.

Brandon: I like that.

Nick: Thank you. And that’s not just my quote. It’s an everyone quote. Be your authentic self. It’s the best thing you can be, right? Not putting a mask on.

David: One thing you mentioned that I really, really like is that you started off there were things about you that just disgusted you. When you looked at yourself, you didn’t like your body, you didn’t like who you were and it was so bad you were even thinking about not wanting to be on the earth. And now you’ve mentioned that some of the things that you hated about yourself the most became the most empowering things about you and in what you’re doing in life.

And I’ve often noticed that maybe not to the degree of severity you described but our biggest frustrations can become our biggest fuel. You know that thing that you’re just like, uuhh! I wish it was different. When you finally get it figured out, becomes the strength of people and they take you really far.

As you are talking, I’m thinking that a lot of people would look at Nick and say, well life wasn’t fair to him. He’s coming from behind trying to catch up. But what you’re describing, you have an edge over a lot of people because you went through so many tough things in life that you became stronger. And how when a hurdle gets set in front of you, a challenge gets set in front of you, you’re just like, that’s nothing, I can knock that down easily. Wherefore people that are newbies wanting to get into real estate see that hurdle as Mount Everest. How could I ever get over that? And you’re laughing at it. Which might be a good segue for this mountain you already climbed. And the fitness goals that you’ve set for yourself.

Have you spent much time thinking about that? Where you look at other people maybe with a little pity? Like you’ve had such an easy life that a couple things feel so hard for you.

Nick: It’s funny you brought that up. I was just talking about this conversation. Because I myself, I was in a conversation where I was, I described it as the unicorn factor. I’m a unicorn. So in the industry, I stand out. when I do something crazy, people pick up. But you know, so I told people, yeah I may have an edge and then someone said, well, if someone’s sitting here and says, well, Nick had an edge, right? He had this. That’s kind of like a cope. It kind of makes them feel better about the stuff they’re not doing. You know what I’m saying?

And so when people are like, well Nick has disadvantages and he got over that, ok what are the disadvantages that you’re complaining about that you’re not getting over? You know? And so I just wanted to make that point real quick.

Brandon: I call that the “must be nice” syndrome. It must’ve been nice to be raised in a family like this. Must be nice to have gotten that. You know?

Nick: It’s a cope.

Brandon: Yes, exactly. I love that.

Nick: Yeah. And real quick, to go back on what you said about hurdles. I don’t give people pity. I don’t feel bad for people but I never, you know, shame people and look down on people because the thing about judgement is that you never know if you would be in the same position as that person if you walk through your whole entire life in their shoes. That’s how I look at judging my whole entire life. If you came up to me and called me a name I’d be, well maybe I would call myself that name if I lived in his body, you know, through all that years.

But I think you’re right about people looking at challenges as Mount Everest. I think it’s just they haven’t built their muscle yet. And what I mean by that, and which I also take comfort in because a muscle, you always build it. You’re always working on it, right? You always feel a muscle. I think it’s just a muscle of having something come in front of you and like I said, how am I going to run through this?

When you get in that rhythm of ok, well, I’m running through barriers now. I’m kind of on this snowball. But I think people just need to start by doing little things that are uncomfortable. Start with little challenges that you know that are tedious. Or stuff that you don’t like to do. Or when you wake up, the five things that you don’t want to do, do them first. Do them first. Do the things that you don’t want to do first. Because after that, you’ll be on this burst of energy. You’re on this snowball crushing things.

And you know as humans, we tend to, like you said, cope and find ways to get out and do the things that we want to do. so if you’re always that person and getting at things that you don’t want to do and focusing your energy into something else, you’re not going to build that muscle. So my advice to people is to do the tedious things that you don’t want to do. You know we’re going to move forward but you know it takes too much every time so you don’t want to do it. Start building that muscle.

I think that’s just a huge perspective shift for people and an empowering perspective shift. Realizing to take a sense of comfort that it’s a muscle. You’re not just going to wake up one day and aaah! I can run through every wall. You know? You got to work on yourself.

David: That’s why coping, the copes that you talk about are so dangerous, right? Because it’s basically your way of talking yourself out of going to the gym that day. Right? You’re losing an opportunity to work on that strength when you’re like it must be nice to be able to fill in the blank, whatever. You’re giving yourself permission to not go out, to not solve that problem. And you’re really cheating yourself.

That’s what I love about you’re just brutally honest about that fact that if I remove all these copes, I have to work through these problems. I am going to get stronger than you.

Nick: Absolutely. That’s what I always tell people. There’s a lot of things in your life that you sit here and you think about I don’t think I’m ready, right? We can all sit here and be like, man there are a lot of things in life that you don’t think you are ready. Jump into those waters. Put yourselves in those waters. Those uneasy waters because by doing that, it’s only human nature for you to adapt and overcome.

You’re going to learn what you need to learn to evolve and get yourself on to land. You know what I’m saying? So I think it’s just huge for people to take a sense of comfort in that it’s a muscle. And so you know at this time, I was a senior, I was wrestling and Vine came out. You guys know what Vine is?

Brandon: Yes.

Nick: For those who are listening if you don’t know what Vine is it was an app that was released in 2014 where you could post 6 second videos, you had to be creative as you can in 6 seconds and everything that I do I always want to bring a message and for this I knew what it felt like to be disgusted in my body. I knew what it felt like to you know not want to look anymore and I know as we’re speaking there are millions of kids and adult that feel that same way right? Don’t feel like they’re confident enough and so I wanted to create an outlet where people could look at their phone and go “Wow look how happy Nick is. Maybe I could be a little bit happier in my situation”.

And so I’m brain storming ideas with my friends and I said guys how many legless guys do you see crawling walls or pretending to be a zombie? And they said no one, that’s a good idea! And so as a senior in high school I put fake blood on my face and put fake blood on my clothes and head out to this local Walmart in New Jersey. Nick’s not allowed in that Walmart anymore they kicked us out like 3 times. And you know I pulled a prank in the corner and I was like “roar” and scared a guy and this video was 6 seconds and I filmed it in 6 seconds and posted that video on Vine and it blew up. When I woke up the next day for school it had over 3,000 likes and over 80,000 re-vines which is a repost. And it went crazy viral.

And there was news articles all over but the one article that stood out to me the most was New Jersey Teen Born with Disability Turn into a Positive. And that’s all what I wanted people to realize was that regardless what life has dealt you with, whether you think your hand is good, whether you think your hand is bad, guess what, you only have one hand so use your hand to the best of your ability. There’s no getting out of this hand like you can either sit here and mope and complain about your situation or go out and start making it better because you only got one life.

And so that was my message going on with that and in under a year I started doing pranks and gained a million followers on Vine. And that led me to scaring Norman Reedus in Tokyo, Japan. So Fox hired me to scare him

Brandon: He’s the Walking Dead guy right?

Nick: Yeah, yeah Darold

Brandon: I love that

Nick: The guy from Bundog Days as well. So but I tell people when I started focusing doing others like making other people laugh or trying to motivate or inspire others like amazing opportunities came into my life. Looking in and trying to work on myself and do things for myself once it started like trickling and I started focusing energy on other people and you know amazing things came into my life.

After that you know I’ve realized that when I have kids and grandkids that I want them to know me for much more than crawling around Walmart so I need to do something bigger and better and that’s when the lifting came in. I made an announcement to over a million of my supporters saying guys I don’t want to do this anymore I want to become a bodybuilder I want to break into mainstream modelling industry and I want to become a keynote speaker.

I said I don’t know how I’m going to do these things but I’m going to throw myself in these waters right and figure it out and that’s what I would tell people the beauty behind life, especially with the internet, we have the ability to learn whatever we want to learn and implement into our life. Everything’s right here on our computer, it’s scary, but we can learn anything. And so unfortunately there wasn’t a book in the library for a kid with no legs, one arm who want to become a body builder. That would have saved me time so it’s with everything in life, trial and error.

Life is trial and error and learning solutions like we’ve been talking about. Going into the gym with some of my buddies in wrestling and help me out with what movements hit my body and when I told people I was going to do these things I got a lot of heat from it. I got a lot of heat and kicked back they followed me for my pranks, what are you doing. Same outside, same cycle, but its good when you have that rhythm of ok change is about to come and how are you going to react to it. And how are you going to be a body builder you have half a body? These are all the things that people were telling me.

This can be empowering or disempowering, it’s the meaning we attach behind it. So you know the same outside noise, how are you going to body build when you have half the body and so I chose that as fuel, I’m like alright, this top of my body is going to be stronger than your body. I guess I carried a chip on my shoulder, I don’t know from the doctor’s handing me that list but thanks, you know. And so my knowledge of nutrition got better, my knowledge of body building got better, my physique started changing, you know people started to catch on that it wasn’t just a phase for me.

And with fitness I always tell people go back to the Ferrari thing like once I’m starting to feel better for myself and body this also built my  confidence you know. Just like feeling better about my body, feeling more comfortable with my skin. So I moved to Tampa a year ago and I’m always looking to put myself in uneasy water so I promised myself, my family and my supporters, I said guys I’m going to get on the competitive bodybuilding contest before 2017 is over.

I knew nothing about competitive body building and told people that, I was very transparent. I was like I don’t know anything about this but I’m going to learn and so I dedicated 12 weeks for preparation and I was 2 weeks out from the competition and I went to Las Vegas for Mr. Olympia to hang out with the supporters and fans which was a couple of weeks ago, I just got back, and I talk about moments of like being guided where life just puts the right people.

When you’re on that frequency and putting the right people in your life and so the expo was Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I went Friday and Saturday. On Sunday I decided just to hang home and I went to hang at the pool and alright we got to go to the gym so I went to the gym and when I went in there my buddy started running up to me and said, “dude The Rock is upstairs lifting”, and I’m like that’s pretty sweet. So I climb up the stairs and lo and behold there were security guards and there was Dwayne doing dips and I was like oh my gosh it’s The Rock. And so I told my guys, I look back at my team and said do not bother this man, he already knows me from my body building videos. If The Rock is who he says he is he’ll come to me, I promise, like don’t bother.

And so we’re going through the motions and we’re lifting and at one point he was next to me, he’s doing curls, and I wasn’t paying him any attention I was just doing my work and then he goes over to the corner and pulls over his headphones and he gets bombarded by pictures. And you know I do what a good leader should do, I go back and like a moment of reassurance like guys don’t freak out and you know I’m lifting and his security guard comes over and taps me on the shoulder and goes, “You’re Nick, right?”, I said yeah and he said, “Can Dwayne meet you?”, I’m like yeah come on bring him on.

Brandon: Like no sorry I’m busy I’m not going to go talk to The Rock, no sorry.

Nick: Yeah so he’s like bring him over so they escorted me to a corner, he came up. The first thing he did was got on my level and high fived me and he said, “Dude I’m such a big fan!” and I’m like trying to hold my inner fan girl in right, I’m like freaking out. And you know he’s like, “Can I get a picture?” and we took a picture and I told him I looked at him and told him all the things that I would be doing at that time. I was like you know I’m going to write a book, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. And I told him I looked him in his eyes and said that I’m going to do what you did. And he said “Well what do you mean by that?”, I said well you’re The Rock, people knew you for football, and then people knew you for WWE and then you took over the world, you’re like in every industry, you’re crushing every industry. I said I’m going to do that. A

nd then he looked me in my eyes and said, “Nick you’re right, because like people like me and you they put us in any industry and we adapt and overcome”. And you know I was like oh my God, like it was just a moment of reassurance. And for the people listening in you can sit in reflection and reflect in yourself how good is your ability to adapt and overcome because I feel like that’s all life is like right? We have a goal we set out but it doesn’t always go the way we plan it right? And it’s just our ability to pivot, it’s our ability to be like ok this is not working let me figure out the next approach.

You know and I feel like that’s the same thing with muscle right like are you working on your ability to pivot? Are you working on your ability to adapt and overcome? That’s very huge for people to just, even just to realize, some people don’t realize some of these things, well if I put attention to that I can see where I’m getting better like pivoting and stuff. And so we took a picture and then I told him about my competition I was 2 weeks out.

And so fast forward to 2 weeks later I’m back stage and about to make history and get on stage. And my buddy comes running up to me and he goes, “Dude The Rock posted you on his Instagram” and for all of the millennial our there that’s a big deal like he has over 110 million Instagram followers. It’s more than the president. It’s like a big deal it’s crazy. So he really posted this long, heartfelt message and again he said, “I wanted to thank Nick for sharpening my perspective a little bit more on life”.

Brandon: That’s cool

Nick: And this was a moment of reassurance for me right, it was a moment of reassurance not only by the story helping and changing people but it was changing perspective of that year, I always tell people I may not have legs but that’s not a reassurance that I’m going to make a massive footprint in this world before I leave.

And that’s my goal. And so with that being said I competed, I was 3rd in my class for men’s physique, I beat full bodied guys and you know just real quick, the approach I took on that is I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t step on stage with 12-15% body fat they would have clapped their hands anyway but that’s not me. I went out strutted and beat other guys.

And so after that you know I started working on my speaking. I keep telling people all these industries and I didn’t know what I was doing but you don’t have to invent the wheel, find out who’s crushing it in your industry and learn what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and save yourself some time.

David: Yeah

Nick: Drop your ego and realize this stuff has already been done. It has already been done just find out who’s doing it right and model them. And so I moved to Tampa and that’s where I found my tribe who I have now Ratmir and Don who you know have dedicated their lives to traveling the world and you’ve met them at gofundme and traveling the world.

And you know I want to help my team share this message by just looking at the people crushing it and finding out what they were doing right. And so we started this speaking company it will be, it’s October, wow so it’s been a year since we started the company.

Brandon: Alright cool ok. There’s a few things you mentioned in the last couple of minutes that I want to pull out here. Because a lot of our listeners are real estate investors but not all of them, people who are trying to achieve great things. But first what I want to ask you is goals. You said goals a couple of times so obviously you’re a goal guy. How do you view goals, what a good one, how do you ensure you get it accomplished. Can you talk about that for a minute?

Nick: Yes so I have an approach, like I said before this, my approach may be different from your approach and this may not be your approach, everybody has a different approach. So my goals, everyone as far as goals everyone know that you have a time limit on them and your deadlines but I also have like way crazy goals. I set way crazy goals. For example the background on my phone is the Beijing Olympic Stadium in China because I plan to sell that stadium out in 3 years. That’s my goal.

I’m touring China in December, the goal is to sell out a hundred thousand people in 3 years which is crazy but like that’s my goal right, I set super high goals. My thing about goals is when he was mentioning the rock climbing video what I can tie this into is through speaking all over I realized that people want how I think and so I can’t be everywhere so I created a mind step program it’s a virtual training program where you log in and basically it’s a bunch of modules but the one module on goal setting so it’s goal setting, eliminating excuses. It was me climbing a mountain.

The best way to teach people is to paint the picture like the easiest way is to paint the picture for people. So I told people I basically drew here’s my goal, I said I’m going to climb a 3 and a half mile mountain, this is a super crazy goal for me, I’m very uncomfortable, and these are the things that are starting to go through my head. I labelled my limiting beliefs, I labelled the things that were going through my head that I didn’t think I could do. Then I walk them through here’s how you’re feeling 25% in, 50% in, 75% in and also the importance of accountability groups around your goal.

And what I mean by that is like it’s great to have people loving on you but that doesn’t really help you, you need people that are loving on you but are like ok Nick you still need a 30% of the mountain to go, you got to keep climbing it. And so set goals that you know that you can achieve that aren’t like really out of there but also set really big ones, and with goals, it’s just reverse engineering. So you take a goal and start reverse engineering from like just picture yourself that you’ve already got your goal done.

And one of the steps before like how are you going to get to that goal because I think painting the picture like I said even with goals helps you stay motivated and helps you stay on track when you have those little stepping stones. So like you take your goal, you make little micro goals. So yeah does that answer your question?

Brandon: It does quite a bit because I think a lot of success in life come down to like 2 things- knowing what you want and working for it. That sounds really simplistic right but at the heart of everything like most people just don’t know what they want and those people who do know what they want sometimes don’t work for it. But if you only did those two things- define clearly what you want and then works towards it.

Nick: And the way you work towards it

Brandon: Yeah so you know what you want work backwards like that right. So we have a journal on BiggerPockets journal coming out here this fall/winter that’s basically that. You were talking about gratitude earlier and I want to revisit that as well because the journal begins with gratitude, those things we’re grateful for and then we move into one of those big goals and then let’s break them down.

One thing I love doing, I do it on webinars a lot, I take like a big goal like hey my 5 year goal is to retire from real estate, great that’s awesome and most people that’s as far as they ever take it. But I’m like no, what are you going to do this year to be on track for that 5 year goal right? Now you got a one year goal. To be on track on your one year goal what are you going to do this quarter?

After this quarter what are you going to do for this month, week, this day, the next 5 minutes and in every goal I believe can be convinced down to what is my next step, my most important next step which I call mins, m-i-n-s, most important next step. Yeah what is that important next step? And do it, schedule, put it on your calendar because like you said otherwise it’s just like a lofty goal. It’s like it’s great to have big goals

Nick: It’s just floating

Brandon: Let’s ground it for example this is what we’re going to do. Like for real estate investors, I’ll take it to the real estate space, they say they want to retire from real estate, right? So we back track we say great you want to retire from real estate right? So you’re going to need what $10,000 a month so you’re 5 year goal is 10 grand a month, great. What’s your 1 month goal? Maybe you should be able to buy 2 properties this year. That’s a good start. If you buy 2 this year then maybe you’ll double the next year, ok great. Ok now so 2 this year, what’s your goal next months? I’m going to buy one deal.

So what’s your goal for the next quarter? I’m going to make a couple of offers. Great, ok so what’s your goal for this month? Well I’m going to get really, really good at analysing deals. Ok let’s break it down to daily. I’m going to analyse one deal every single day. What’s the next thing you’re going to do? I’m going to go analyse three deals. Ok now I’m going to put my calendar for tonight, right? That again is kind of like a rough example of taking that down. So anyway I rant over on that.

Nick: Real quick just to piggy back on that for those of you who are writing down notes clarity is power, clarity is power when you’re so clear on what you want that’s empowering just the way you broke it down. If you know the tangible stuff you have to take then that’s power. Find out what you want and get clarity on it.

Brandon: Yeah I love it and then you said, you talked about modelling and I love that as well. We always try to reinvent the wheel.

Nick: Yeah

Brandon: Most of us unlike you when you’re trying to become a bodybuilder you’re not going to find a book on how to be a bodybuilder when you have no legs and one arm, right? But there is a book on a lot of things right?

Nick: Nutrition

Brandon: Yeah nutrition exactly right? But there are people who have done what exactly they want to do in life. The thing that’s powerful about podcasting right is when you’re listening to a podcast you’re listening to somebody else and you can model what they’re doing. It’s not going to be exact of course but I love that concept of modelling, don’t try to reinvent the wheel, what works so again translated it to real estate.

When I’m trying to think of I want to buy a property this year I’m not going to just go and make something up and do all this hard work, no, I’m going to do what that guy did because it worked for him. For example, I’m going to copy his exact letter he mails out to a motivated sellers or I’m going to try to figure out what his script look like and I’m going to model it after him. Again that’s the value of podcasts, forums and blog spots and then just sell off of education and learn what other people are doing then repeat it.

Nick: Absolutely some people are like well I can’t get in contact with the person, go read their book, read their podcast. Get as personal as you can through social media whatever might be there. There’s a way to learn from that person, yeah absolutely.

Brandon: Hey what’s going on there it’s Brandon. I’m taking a quick break from the internet because today’s show is a little bit different, right? Have a fire round, I wanted to make sure you still get a word in from fire round sponsor.

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Alright big thanks to our sponsor always and now. Let’s get back to our interview with Nick. Alright one more thing then we’ll move on. I’m curious going back with the gratitude thing you know I’m a huge believer of it. Do you have any advice? You mentioned about 5 things you’re grateful for every morning. Can you expound on gratitude just a little bit? Why is it important to do that and what are ways to do that?

Nick: Yeah so the reason why it’s important I think is because I think we can all agree life can get hectic and sometimes we’re just going through the motions, we wake up we’re grinding, we go to sleep and people forget to stop and take a breath and be “Man I woke up! I woke up today!”, you know, I have clothes on my body, I live in a house, I have food in my refrigerator. When I was sleeping my heart was still beating, it was still going so I can live. You’re heart you didn’t have to work for it. One day you were born and you had it. It’s a gift. It’s spinning my mind thinking about wild things.

A lot of people would have less stress, less worry in their life, if at least once a day they realize the fact that we’re on a rock and it’s spinning around nowhere. We’re just here and we don’t know why, just embrace life and how grateful we should be in life. This thing I was saying it’s emotionally impossible for you feel grateful and sad at the same time. That emotion of gratitude outweighs emotions.

That’s what I tell people when I start my day today just thinking about 5 things I’m grateful for that I woke up today, that I have an opportunity to get on a podcast, I have food in my refrigerator. By you doing this, I always tell people, starting your day out in gratitude is starting your day off on the right foot. I have feet and I can still do it, too.

And I think we can all agree that a lot of ungrateful kids nowadays and I push the parents to hold your kids accountable with gratitude. Have your kids list what they’re grateful for, share it each and every morning and night. If you want to build good habits with your kids gratitude is a great habit and I want to bring it down so people can even in my perspective of living in this body, I know each and every day that a man with no legs and one arm there are millions of kids and adults that would switch places with me in an instant because they just don’t have it like I do. Not in a cocky way, I’m saying they live in bad situations, they’re living on the street, they don’t have that, this isn’t a disability, the biggest disability you can have is a bad mind set.

And that’s what I try to tell people, I’m not disabled, this is your super power and for me to realize ok you may think this situation is bad but it’s not. There are millions of kids and adults who have it way worse than me. And that piggy backs into life is all perspective. That is all life. Life is all perspective and the way you look at it. And so if you want to piggy ride off that I get really fired up on the gratitude.

Brandon: Actually I do I’m on all of it. You mentioned something you said that all life is how we view it, right? So there’s, I think Tony Robbins did it who I listened to and watched a while back. What about a hug right? The hug intrinsically good or bad and most of us on top of our head is yes it’s a good thing. But what if it’s from someone who just murdered a bunch of people? Would you still want a hug from that guy? Of course not. Or a creep down the street who obviously has like, I don’t want him hugging me. So most things in life have intrinsic is it good or is it bad, it’s how we react to it, how we feel about it in our heads, right?

Nick: The meaning we attach

Brandon: Exactly the meaning we attach to different meaning of things. If you’re upset about things or irritated or whatever, change the meaning of how we look at that, right? And that’s where I think the concept of gratitude comes in right? Oftentimes that’s the best way I think to change how you feel about something, being grateful about it.

Yes I didn’t get that deal I wanted real bad, you know what I’m so grateful that I live in an area where I could make another offer tomorrow. I can go make 10 offers, double my advertising expense on deals. I can go and meet with more real estate investors. How awesome is that that I live in a world where I can do that. Oh man so now the meaning totally changes.

Nick: Now it’s empowering!

Brandon: Now it’s empowering! Yes I’m fired up to do something else.

Nick: And the same thing for people, for me when I’m on a plane I just came back from a month of touring and you know what I’m sitting on a plane and like oh my God I live in the airport. I was like let’s not think like that, well I’m grateful to be busy. I’m grateful to be productive because if I was just sitting home on a couch and have nothing to do I would be freaking out.

Also that and I wanted to tell a story on the meaning you attach behind things this is a great way to leeway into it. The meaning you attach is like my favourite think to teach. People this is it, whatever, I can have a tragic event in my life and you can see all the good and I can see all the bad, it’s the meaning we attach behind it. And that’s what I always tell people. Life right now, we’re sitting in plain energy and we’re the dictators whether the things around us are negative or positive. Like I said it’s the meaning we attach and we are the architects, we are in control of that.

And so a couple months ago I had an opportunity to work at a UFC event in Madison Square Garden. I had the opportunity to interview the fighters, couple of celebrities, Nick was feeling like the man, my confidence was way taller than I’ll ever be. And it was time for me to travel, it was time for me to come home and I was travelling alone and with planes you have first come first serve seats and so I rolled up in a wheel chair and that means I can skip the line and I get in the first row and it’s the 3-seater row and I sit next to the window. So there’s 2 seats next to me and I remember the flight attendant saying to me, “honey it’s going to be a full flight”, and I said yes it’s fine I already got my seat.

And so they start boarding and people are looking at me and then looking away. And my whole life, I’m 22, I’m in tune, you know my whole life I’m just in tune with people’s reactions. You know people are doing this and I’m kind of getting upset and the plane’s filling in and no one wants to sit next to me.

The seats are getting filled all around me and the seat are empty and I’m starting to tear up and it brought me back to that moment in middle school when I felt absolutely disgusted with myself you know, it brought me back to that moment. And you know I tell people that we’re the only humans that can think a thought and piss ourselves off, make ourselves upset or those happen. We’re the only beings like that.

And so here I am seats starting filling in and I’m crying and you know the seats are filling in and finally two gentlemen had to sit down and I’m looking out the window and I’m crying, trying not to let people know that I’m crying. And so I’m looking at the window and I thought to myself I said, “Nick what would you tell the kids, you know what would you tell the kids you speak to? The adults you speak to what would you tell them?”, and that’s when I thought it’s the meaning behind this. Like what meaning am I going to attach behind this, is it going to be disempowering or empowering.

And that’s when I realized that I cry all the way home, I can let this affect my day, my week, my month or celebrate the fact that I had the most leg room in this plane? And what’s it going to be? And then I tell people snap your fingers because I can’t and I took a moment, in a snap of a finger where my thought was negative, where I was upset, and I switched the meaning behind it to something empowering and here I am pumped up about the back like alright you guys don’t want to sit beside me that’s fine all of you are fighting over leg room and I got the most. That’s everything in life. Every event in your life it’s the meaning you attach behind that.

And also I want to bring up, I love this quote by Nelson Mandela. He says, “I don’t lose I only win or I learn”. And that’s the same thing, that’s life. We can self-reflect on an event that happened in the past that you may think that happened against you and not for you and you pull one good piece of information from that whether  one piece of wisdom, one different approach, maybe it was gain perspective but there’s always one piece of good information to pull out of any event and what you deduce by that is you take what you think is an L, a lost, and you pull one piece of information, you extract that piece of information and you turn it into a win. You learn from it.

And then you realize that you don’t lose in life, you win or you learn. And so I think that’s super important for people to realize and to self-reflect in. You can take an event in your life and you thought it was bad, pull one good piece of information from it and that event happened for you and that’s a big mind shift for people, going from victim to victor, realizing the world is happening for you and not to you. Things that happen in your past it just al happened and sculpted you into who you are. These things have made you into who you are. They’re all empowering.

So I think that’s a huge mind shift for people to have because I feel like everyone has one point in life where they have a mentality of why me, why did this happen to me, you know and it’s empowering to know that this happened for me. And there’s always one piece of good information that can come out of this. And that’s where I tie-in my book. My book is How to go from Victim to Victor Mentality and Live the Life You Love.

Fifteen stories, some of these personal stories I’ve told. It’s fifteen stories of lessons and applications of how people can just start having these mind set tricks and start living that life because that’s what people want to know- how is this kid happy how did this kid get this way, how is this kid achieving these things with no legs and one arm, this is your superpower. This is all it is.

Brandon: That’s awesome. When does the book come out, where do people buy it, how can they get it?

Nick: So the book is like I said How to go from Victim to Victor and Live the Life You Love. And the book will be out on Amazon but it will be out probably in the next couple of days so you guys keep a look on it, it will be on Amazon. Type my name or Victim to Victor and it will pop up. It’s the only book with the man with no legs and one arm that’s shirtless on the cover.

Brandon: That’s awesome I will put a link on the website as well for that. I would encourage everyone to go get a copy. I mean Nick you’re super inspiring.

Hey all it’s Brandon again taking one more break here because I want to make sure we get a word in from today’s deal deep dive sponsor even though we don’t have a deep dive.

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Definitely check it out! Everybody go there biggerpockets.com/padhock

Alright let’s get back to the show. Anything you want to leave us with today? Any final pieces of wisdom, advice, things you’ve learned? Any stories you want to cover before we get out of here.

Nick: Yes just wrap it up to just really hit the head with a hammer. Life is all perspective guys, it’s the way you look at it. And you can either look at it through a negative lens, you can focus on the negative, you can focus on your weaknesses and that stuff doesn’t empower you. It’s literally about focusing on the good, on what you’re good at and also you know being brutally honest with yourself on what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are.

And I think that’s super important, super empowering because you know what you’re good at and you know what you need to delegate at. And to drop your ego and to realize that there are some things you’re not good at and if you don’t have the time to learn them then it’s ok to delegate and have someone else do it that has strength in that field. You know time is valuable, time is super valuable, we’re always trying to systemize things right, being sufficient and build our horizontal income so we’re making money while we sleep.

Well there’s some things that’s not your strength, some things that we’re not good at so go ahead and drop that ego and delegating so you have time to focus on your strengths. You know in every situation we have that choice. It’s like if we can focus on the negative, focus on the power you know the positive and the disempowering meaning and the empowering meaning, it’s like what is it going to be in. once people look through life in that lens where the world is happening for me and all these events in my life in the future, now in the present I’m going to learn from them and don’t lose, I only win or I learn.

Brandon: Yeah that’s powerful, drops the mic, love it. Alright dude this has been fantastic so thank you so much for today. You know I think our audience is going to love hearing this. Again check out the book it’s called Victim to Victor, correct?

Nick: How to overcome that victim mentality

Brandon: Man I love it. Alright Nick Santonostaso, Santonostasso. Man I did the hand, dude thanks so much. Keep in touch!

Nick: You got it brother! Grateful for the opportunity, thank you.

Brandon: Thanks Nick, great job man! Alright so that was our interview with Nick Santonostasso. Did I get it?

David: Yeah that’s pretty good

Brandon: I stumbled there for a second but Nick, fantastic dude, I love the mind-set, I love the conversation that our reality is based on how we perceive things in a lot of cases I mean we get angry at a person or we get sad because of a deal it’s all about how we feel. We’ve defined our reality in a lot of ways. It’s just a good reminder you know just life challenges, despite being born with 3 of his limbs missing, the guy’s overcoming all sorts of odds and doing awesome stuff. Very cool.

David: I‘m grateful we have people like Nick because he just reinforces the idea just like The Rock said people like us if drop us in any situation and we will adapt and overcome and we will dominate in that area and anybody can with that mind-set right and your physical body plays zero role in your success, it’s all about your mid set and his comment that the biggest disability is a bad mind set is just ooooh.

Brandon: Yeah I wrote that down. That’s really good. I’m going to make Instagram postcards for that. Speaking of Instagram make sure you’re following BiggerPockets over on Instagram @biggerpockets and make sure you follow David Green over there @davidgreen4 and @beardybrandon if you want to follow what I’m doing. And that’s it. David I’m going to get out of here, thanks for being an amazing co-host on BiggerPockets podcast.

David: Thanks for the gratitude Brandon that’s very nice of you. Let’s go crush our days after hearing from Nick. With that being said this is David Green, and Brandon handsome shirt turner signing off.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Nick’s story and a life with Hanhart syndrome
  • Changing your internal language
  • The story behind the skateboard handstand
  • The importance of having an authentic self
  • The “must be nice” syndrome
  • Thoughts on having a “massive footprint”
  • Breaking down goals
  • Modeling yourself on someone
  • Gratitude and why it’s important
  • Choosing empowering over disempowering thoughts
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “The emotion of gratitude outweighs all emotions.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Humans in general have the tendency to start with ‘cannot.'” (Tweet This!)
  • “Everything in life is trial and error.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The biggest disability you can have is a bad mindset.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Nick

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.