The power of mindset
Once, an interviewer asked Blake Leeper if he wished he had been born with legs. Blake replied that he’s actually thankful for his disability. “I’m a true believer that with everything I’ve been through, my adversity is my advantage. The fact that I was born without legs showed me how to get back up,” he says. And in his speech to students at EF’s 2022 Global Leadership Summit, he explained that their adversities aren’t just happening to them, but working for them. “The adversity you’re facing today, embrace it. The challenges you’re going to face tomorrow, accept them. They’re going to make you stronger and shape you into who you are.”
So what’s next for Blake? Becoming the fastest man in the world, across both Paralympic and able-bodied runners. He knows it’s a big dream, but that’s why he’s chasing it. He connects this self-assurance to having the opportunity to compete in sports as a child. “When you allow somebody who’s different to go out there and show their talents to the world, it builds confidence that goes past the track or field and into their daily life. Then they discover themselves and what motivates them, so they can go out there like anybody else who wants to achieve their dreams,” he explains. As Blake prepares for the Paralympic Games in 2024, instead of asking “why me?”, he’s asking “why not me?”—and encourages everyone else to do the same, no matter how big the dream is they’re chasing.