Ep371: Robert Paylor – You Can Overcome Your Biggest Challenges

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Quick take

BIO: Robert Paylor suffered a spinal cord injury in 2017 while playing rugby. He has picked himself up to defy the odds. Robert graduated from UC Berkeley, is winning the fight to walk again, and is sharing his method of how he overcomes quadriplegia.

STORY: Robert suffered a spinal cord injury while playing rugby and could not move anything below his neck. He fought so hard to walk again to satisfy himself, but after a letter from one of his rugby trainees battling cancer, Robert realized that he needed to fight his challenges to inspire others.

LEARNING: To overcome challenges, you must first believe that you can. You can overcome your challenges, do not let the world tell you otherwise.


“The more positive affirmations we give ourselves throughout the day, the more positive we become and the more able we are to take on life’s challenges.”

Robert Paylor


Guest profile

In one moment, Robert Paylor was on the best day of his life, competing for the collegiate rugby national championship. In the next moment, his life changed forever. Robert suffered a spinal cord injury in the first minutes of the game and found himself face down on the turf, unable to move anything below his neck.

His doctor told him he would never walk or move his hands for the rest of his life. Through an unbreakable vision and relentless determination, Robert is defying the odds. He has graduated from UC Berkeley, is winning the fight to walk again, and is sharing his method of how he overcomes quadriplegia.

Every person faces challenges; Robert’s are just visible. The skills Robert uses to overcome paralysis can be used by all to optimally perform. His message is one that inspires others to access their full potential and conquer their challenges no matter how daunting they may seem. Visit https://www.robertpaylor.com for more information.

Worst investment ever

On May 6, 2017, Robert played at the collegiate rugby national championship when a player tackled him. He lost his footing and dropped to the ground snapping his neck. He could not move or feel anything below his neck. Robert could tell something was wrong, and at this moment, all he could think of was his goals, dreams, and aspirations.

Making it all about himself

When Robert found out that he could not walk, he wanted to get better for himself. He just wanted to get better and nothing else. Robert just wanted to be able to stand up on his feet, feed himself, and go back to school. Just for his satisfaction.

An inspiration to many

This need for self-satisfaction changed very quickly. One day after his injury, Robert’s high school was hosting a prayer service for him. He would typically teach rugby to young players at the school and share this passion with them.

As Robert was chatting with his dad about the service, he showed him a photo of a young lad who was fighting for his life. His skin was white as a sheet, and his body as thin as a rail. After a closer look, Robert recognized the guy. He was one of the high school kids that he trained.

The student’s mom had written a message to Robert telling him that his son wanted so badly to be at the prayer service to pray for Robert, but he couldn’t because he was undergoing chemotherapy. He was wearing Robert’s rugby shirt because he inspired him. And because of Robert, the student was fighting hard to beat cancer so he can play rugby. At the end of the message, the mom asked Robert to stay strong and keep smiling because his strength was helping her son stay strong too.

Living for a higher purpose

Robert broke down after reading the message. He realized that everything he did was not about him. Fighting for his life, fighting to walk again, and gain his independence was not just beneficial to him but also inspiring to thousands of people across the world.

With this realization, Robert has been fighting hard, and now he can stand up using a walker and walk up to 300 yards. He can feed himself and live independently. The doctors had told him he would never be able to do such things again. Robert believes that he was able to beat the odds because he stopped living in that selfish desire.

Lessons learned

Success starts in your mind

To overcome challenges, you must believe that you can.

Positive affirmations hold real power

The more positive affirmations you give yourself throughout the day, the more positive you become and the more able you are to take on life’s challenges. Do things that keep out negativity and promote positivity. Just like you are intentional with what you put into your body, you also need to be very regimented with your mental diet to gain a positive mindset.

Practice perspective in a manner that helps you

Perspective is such a powerful tool. It can hurt or help you. Robert learned that he could practice perspective in two ways. On the one hand, he could look at the periods of his life when he had everything and things were working out for him and compare them to his current reality and feel bad about himself. Or he could look at other people in far worse situations and choose to be grateful for his life. It is all about perspective.

Andrew’s takeaways

You can overcome your challenges, do not let the world tell you otherwise

When you face your biggest challenge, as many people could be facing right now, the first thing you need to believe is that you can overcome insurmountable odds, so do not let the world convince you otherwise.

Focus on the higher purpose

There is a higher purpose in life. If you are religious, this could be a purpose related to serving God. If you are not religious, it may be a purpose of helping others. Just stop making it all about yourself, and start thinking about how you can impact others. And when you do, no matter how bad your situation is, there are people out there that are suffering more.

Actionable advice

If there is a situation in your life that makes you feel mad at the universe, angry at the circumstances that got you in that situation, you need to forgive and start focusing on the positive things in your life. This will help that pain and suffering go away.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Robert’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to be able to do something like getting out of his bed or couch, get in his car and go to a restaurant and sit down in a booth and eat a meal, and then get up out of that booth, back into his car, and back to his couch.

This may not seem like much to a lot of people, but it’s something that Robert desires so much. He believes that a year is a realistic time to make it happen, and if he does, he’s one step closer to never needing his wheelchair ever again.

Parting words


“I hope by following me, I am able to give you that little dose of mental diet.”

Robert Paylor


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community, we know that the win in investing, you must take risk. But to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now to reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist I've made specifically for you. My podcast listener, and it comes from all the lessons I've learned from all of my guests. Fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest, Robert paler. Robert, are you ready to rock?

Robert Paylor 00:42
You bet I'm ready to rock. Let's do this.

Andrew Stotz 00:44
I'm super excited to have you. I've been looking forward to getting you on the show. I was really excited when you said yes. And truthfully, you know, I have to say, You've rocked my world. And I think you're gonna rock the audience's world with what you've learned. So why don't you let me give a little introduction to you to the audience. In one moment, Robert was in the best day of his life, competing for the collegiate rugby national championship. In the next moment, his life changed forever. Robert suffered a spinal cord injury in the first minutes of the game and found himself facedown in the turf, unable to move anything below his neck. His doctor told him, he would never walk or move his hands for the rest of his life. Through an unbreakable vision, and relentless determination, Robert is defying the odds. He is graduated from UC Berkeley, and is winning the fight to walk again, and is sharing his method of how he overcomes quadriplegia. Every person faces challenge, Roberts are just visible. The skills Robert uses to overcome paralysis can be used by all to optimally performed. His message is one that inspires others to access their assess their and access their full potential and conquer their challenges no matter how daunting they may be. And ladies and gentlemen, before we even get started, pause and go to WWW dot Robert paler.com. To learn more. Robert, can you take a minute and Philly for the tidbits about your life?

Robert Paylor 02:34
Absolutely. Andrew, thank you so much for the introduction. I know our audio only listeners can't see it. But I'm blushing as red as a tomato after something like that. A little bit about me. We got the basics. But Dr. Taylor, I'm an inspirational speaker. By definition a quadriplegic, I had been fighting this challenge. On this day, it has been 14 139 days that I've been fighting quadriplegia. And I am excited to report that I'm now winning this fight, I found this passion and this purpose and sharing the story and more importantly, sharing the tools that have helped me to overcome quadriplegia that I can then give to other people who are facing challenges in their love lives. because like you said, my challenges are visible. And everybody's facing challenges, whether they're visible or not. But I also believe that everybody's paralyzed by something. Oh, I obviously am paralyzed physically, I can't move much of my body has struggled to move much my body. But I think everybody's paralyzed. But something whether that be mental, or emotional. And I like sharing the story sharing these tools that I've taken to go from paralyzed to empowered. And it's really become my personal purpose in life. And I'm excited to do that today.

Andrew Stotz 03:44
Well, you know, I shared with you before we turn the recorder that I heard you being interviewed on another podcast, and I literally had to stop at the park where I was and I was just sobbing. You know, and you inspired me. And it was inspiration really. But for those people that are listening audio, you will you won't be able to see it. But Robert is moving his hands he is moving his body. And there's just quite a story about that. So I think that it's time to let Robert speak rather than me. So I'm going to go into the next question, which is now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to and then tell us your story.

Robert Paylor 04:29
Yeah, it's really interesting. And it's something that I've never really thought about that much before. To be completely honest. I'm a really optimistic person and a really positive person. And you know, in every failure I've had in my life and every negative circumstance, I've really tried to cultivate positivity around it, turn it into something that I don't regret, and then I'm happy had happened in my life. And I think there's no better way to describe my worst investment ever than describing the day I broke my neck. The day was May 6 2017 is the day of the collegiate rugby national championship. And I am as excited and ready for this day than I have ever been in my entire life. I had thought and worked for this moment for so long. It's the pinnacle of collegiate rugby in America. And something that so much my worth so much my value was connected to. I remember getting out there on that field and standing side by side with my teammates, looking at the other team really understanding the gravity of this situation in this game and wanting to put it all out there on the field. And it was very early on in this game that I was competing in a mall. And for those who don't know, rugby, that's when the bigger guys were grouped together in the single unit, and we push as a single unit to advance the ball. And I'm a big dude. I mean, I'm at the time of like six foot five 245 pounds, like I was put on this earth to move people specifically moving people that don't want to be moved. So we're like five meters out from scoring this thing. I mean, you could probably be like CB drew on here on the field, obviously going, let's go rob drive this thing, and this is your job make an impact right now. And as I'm doing this, the opposing players, they start making these illegal moves, and the referee is not calling anything. So first three players coming from the side, which is a minor infraction, something you're not supposed to do, but perhaps not calling it. Now one of the players who came in from the side, he bites me in a headlock around my neck, and it's pitting my chin and my chest, everything he has to bring my neck down. Now normally in rugby, this would be an automatic yellow or red card and immediate suspension from the game. But still, ref doesn't see it. Maybe ref doesn't call it. Now another player comes in and he chops you down by my leg. So I lose my footing and I started dropping to the ground trying to get my head back up. There's nothing I can do, I close my eyes, I grit my teeth, and then snap. I felt a crunch in my neck. I could not move anything. I could not feel anything. I was doing everything I could to get back up on my feet. And I couldn't move a muscle. Now it's hard to explain that terror. And I swear you can feel it in your bones when you are in a living nightmare. And there's nothing you can do to wake up. nothing you can do to escape. I mean, you could have pinched me and I wouldn't have even felt it. I'm just thinking, there's no way this could be happening to me, I have all these goals, dreams aspirations in my life, I want to be a great rugby player. And I want to have a successful career after that and be able to see my friends and those little things like eventually meet a girl, get married, start a family and have a good career. And then I started thinking, I just want to be able to walk again. I just want to be able to feed myself again, I envision a future for myself while I'm laying there on that field. While I may spend the rest of my life, sitting in the chair, not able to do anything for myself, and my mom will just kind of spoon feed me, keep me alive. And then one day she'll die. And I'll just live the rest of my life completely alone, waiting to die. I'm stretchered off that field, and I get rushed over to the hospital. And they take this medical imaging all over my spine to assess the damage that was done and how to best repair it. And my doctor comes in and he tells me the worst thing I could hurt. He looks at me and he says, Robert, your injury is bad, really bad. And the reality is, he will never walk again. You will never move your hands. And we're going to do our best you can do something like pick up a piece of pizza and bring it to your face. If you can do that, then you made it and you beat the odds. It doesn't stop there. Because he also recommends a surgery to me since my spine was so destabilized, the damage would only continue is that unless I went to do emergency spinal fusion surgery, and there's a lot of important real estate through the front of their neck where they're doing this surgery. I mean, if you're just a little bit off, things get bad very quickly. And it's potentially life threatening surgery. I might not even wake up for that moment. So here I am. laying in a hospital bed. I just woke up think it was gonna be the best day of my life. And I was going to win a national championship. And now just a matter of hours later, I'm lying on my back. I can't feel anything. I can't move anything. And I'm being told I never will again. And that's if I survive. And I just couldn't accept that. I just could not accept that I would spend the rest of my life I was 20 years old. In that moment I would spend the rest of my life letting these things passively happened to me that I was put in this circumstance that I just couldn't control. I couldn't accept that I just made a decision in that moment that I was going to give absolutely everything I had to get absolutely everything I get because I can live the rest of my life as a quadriplegic, but I cannot live the rest of my life knowing that I didn't give it my all to try to get out of this situation. So I went into the surgery or went out and the surgeon He was actually incredibly done, the doctor did a fantastic job. I start fighting for my life, I had pneumonia, but I couldn't cough. I couldn't swallow anything, which means I couldn't eat or drink in a month, or for a month, and I lost 60 pounds in that first month. And death was with me in that room waiting for me to quit. Now, I'm getting finally into my worst investment ever. My desires were a selfish desire, I wanted to walk, and I wanted to get better for myself, and nothing else. I just wanted to be able to stand up on my feet. I wanted to be able to feed myself, I wanted to be able to go back to school just for my own personal satisfaction. And I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing, right? You know, for it to be I think a lot of times we hear the word selfish, do you think of a kind of a negative connotation, I don't know if that was necessarily a bad thing. It was just the nature of my motivation. And it all changed very quickly. It was approximately five days to a week in, in my injury that my high school is hosting a prayer service for me, my healing for my mental strength throughout this journey. And I actually used to coach youth rugby camps. When I was in college, I come back to school and I'd show these young players the game of rugby and share this passion with them. And there was this one camper there, and his name was talent. And talent was kind of one of the smaller guys, but like he had hard he's kind of a Rudy type all of us if everybody it was a really as an I'd like to pick up and like bob and weave in between, like the other 12 year olds out there. So you go to score and we share this real bond. And it was on that same day that I was just talking about where this pair service was being held that my dad shows me this picture on his phone, someone I don't recognize, it's this person who's obviously fighting for his life. His, his skin is white as a sheet, and his body is thin as a rail. And his hair is like bleached and very thin. And this kid has talent. And it was in this post that his mom talents, mom wrote a message. And I read something like Talon wanted so badly to be at this prayer service to pray for Robert. But he can't be there because he's undergoing chemotherapy. And he's wearing his Jesuit rugby shirt, because Robert inspired him to this camp. And she shared you know, she shares that experience that we had together, and he wants to go play rugby when he beats his cancer. And then the end of the message, I'll never forget it. She says, stay strong and keep smiling Robert, your strength helps talent stay strong, too. And I just broke down. I just realized in that moment, that everything I do is not about me, fighting for my life fighting to walk again and gain my independence is not for my own personal satisfaction is to inspire somebody else is to inspire the 1000s of people across the world shoot, maybe even millions who've gotten so much out of this story. It's the greatest purpose I've ever had in my life. Now, fast forwarding through all this, I can stand up out of my out of my wheelchair and my Walker and walk up to 300 yards. I mean, I can feed myself I can, I can live independently, I can do all those things that doctors told me, I would never be able to do again. And there's no way that I would be able to do that if my desire was purely selfish, because I'll tell you, struggling to walk, struggling to get up out of bed in the morning doesn't give me personal satisfaction. And I continue to fight for this goal every single day, not for myself, but for others. Now, that's a very long winded answer to my worst investment ever. But living that in that selfish desire. That's what it is. That's that's like the worst investment I ever could have made. Now luckily, it didn't impact my life too negatively, because I made a switch very quickly. I'm excited I did and grateful I did. And I hope others can find that same mission in their life to figure out who they're serving.

Andrew Stotz 14:01
There's so many different things that I just want to hone in on. The one thing is that, you know, doctors often tell us the worst case, as a way of not building on false hope. Sometimes by telling us the worst case, they get as mad, where we're going to say that's not going to be me. But I'm just curious about you know, first of all, you know, when that first worst case came to you, and you know, thinking about people who are getting that kind of news. And then the second thing is just if you could explain the challenge that you went through from that point on to get that if anybody for the people that are listening, you can go to his you know, to any of his areas, particularly his his his website, Robert paler.com. You can also go to his Twitter, and other places where you have a picture of yourself standing for the first time but maybe just Tell us a little bit about that mentality of, you know, very negatively coming at you. And then the second thing is how did you get from there to that first step?

Robert Paylor 15:10
Yeah. First, I'll take this opportunity for anybody who's in a situation where they have to deliver news like that, or any sort of coaching and prognosis to another person. It's obvious that the doctor was not a bad guy. And he was trying to protect me, like you said, he was trying not to give me false hope. But I think what's just as damaging, if not more damaging, is giving someone false hopelessness, to think if I would have listened to his words as truth, I certainly wouldn't be here in this capacity. Today, I might not even be in this situation at all, thinking that all this hard work would just be leading to nothing, here's a professional telling me that I'm not going to walk or move my hands again for the rest of my life. Now, that's kind of an aside for people to take in that situation and how they can be more effective leaders in their lines of work and in their lives. But I was surrounded by a lot of negativity, especially in that first month, when I was in that hospital, there were a lot of other doctors and nurses saying, Robert, you'll never walk in, you'll never move your hands. And the sooner you realize that, the better it's going to be for your mental health. Now, there's this thing I've been talking about. I've been thinking about a lot lately, lately called a mental diet. And we all understand the physical diet, right? It's nasty and nasty out or if we eat well, our bodies perform better. And I think the same thing goes for our minds. The more we take in negative information, the more we allow negative thoughts to cycle through our mind, the more negative we are as people, and the less able we are to take on life's challenges. Just as the more positive information we take. And the more positive affirmations we give ourselves throughout the day, the more positive we are as people and the more able we are to take on life's challenges, I had to have real intentional things that I did every single day, to counteract that kind of negativity, to continue to believe in myself and live in a positive state that allowed me to take on these seemingly insurmountable challenges, I would have my brother hold the phone in front of my face. And we started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the medical expenses of my injury, as I'm sure you can imagine, breaking your neck is not a great financial decision to be made. In America, the expenses are just unbelievable. And those financial contributions did so much for me. But those messages of support did just as much and reading the messages of people telling me how much they're getting out of my fighting this journey, and how much it's inspiring them and how grateful they are to be able to, to witness this. And for me taking on this challenge. It just gave me all the mental good food to put into my mental diet that I could possibly need. I look up the stories of people who were beating these challenges. And I think that's something that's a lesson for everybody that we're always going to be taking negativity, and we need to have a real audit of that kind of negativity that's going into our mind. So we can be aware of that. But we also have to have concrete things that we do every single day. Just like when you're intentional with a physical diet, and you're choosing very carefully what you put into your body. You also need to be very regimented with your mental diet. So things like conversations with people you enjoy talking to doing the things that make you feel better looking up inspiring stories, keeping something like a gratitude journal, writing down, shoot three things that you're grateful for that day, at the end of the day, these little things while they might not seem like that big in the moment, as we do it over time, we have a more positive mental diet. And we have a more positive mindset.

Andrew Stotz 18:44
I just wanted before we go into the next question I asked you about kind of how did you get from that point to your first step, I just want to go back to that. I'm thinking about one of the things that I've told someone on those podcasts. And he came back and said this really impacted me was I said, I protect my brain. Because the brain is the source if my if I lose my ability in my brain. So in other words, we're being bombarded all day long by people trying to get into our heads, whether it's selling a product or whether it's buying into their opinion, or their side of the story or whatever. So that that mental diet, that brain diet is such a critical thing that I can really relate to. And I just want to tell a quick story about when he was it was 1998 and I was in Thailand, and we were in the middle of the Asian crisis. Basically, the economy collapsed. The bot currency here in Thailand collapsed. I lost my job. And I had started a factory with my best friend and we had to move into the factory. And we lived in the factory outside of Bangkok. We had almost no sales. I mean, it was just disaster. And we were everyday chewing up the money that we had saved and watching our businesses collapse and Basically, my sister called, it was a Sunday, like a rainy day, a really tropical, rainy day that smell of, of just rain everywhere was a dark and gloomy day and my sister called. And she said, My cancers come back. And you know, Doctor says, I'm only gonna live another month, can you come home. And when I hung up the phone with my best friend Dale from high school, and you know, from all these years, we just looked at each other and just sobbed. You know, it was just the worst moment in my life. And I got on a plane. And I remember landing in Boston, knowing this is the last time I land in Boston to see her, I just, you know, uncontrollably sobbed. And then I've got to her house, she was in bed. And it turned out, she only had a week left. And I got into bed, and I got next to her. And I just sobbed. And she looked at me and she said, that doesn't help me. It just was such a revelation that I was making it all about me. And it was all about the loss that I was having. When I didn't realize her as the patient as a person suffering of it, you know, that she needed something different. She wanted something different. And I brought to it only my selfish, you know, feeling of what am I losing from this, and you just made me think about, you know, the false hopelessness, the negativity, there's people that come in with sympathy, you know, all of these things are coming from their own. And part of that mental diet is saying, I got to separate myself from some of that. Because otherwise, it can take you over. But that's just something, I don't know if that makes any sense to you or not.

Robert Paylor 21:42
It absolutely does when I was laying in that hospital bed, you know, in a different situation. But still to dealing with a lot of negativity. I remember, before my surgery, I was really dreading the moment in a way of seeing my brother, because I didn't know if I was gonna survive the surgery, right? I didn't know if I was gonna, oh, my eyes ever again. Once I close them, we don't want to sleep to go under the knife. And my brother was coming into town and to come see me. And before he came in, I knew it was going to be very difficult because I always tried to be strong for my brother always tried to be a good role model. And, and when he came right before he came into the room, I told my mom to tell him like, tell him he's not allowed to cry, tell him he's not allowed to break down right now I can't handle that right now I won't be able to keep my mindset together. If he does that, he needs to be strong, because I can't be strong for him. And my brother was a rock. I mean, he held up the phone, as I called my closest friends and told them that I might not see them again. And I love them. And you know, he had his I was shirt but it wasn't anything more than that. He was maybe the strongest person on that day. And I needed that.

Andrew Stotz 22:54
Some people listening may think, oh, you're repressing your feelings. So you're not you know, you're not you're not willing to talk about it. But I think that part of the lesson that I learned from my sister is that there are times and I'm learning from you, that we really in order to carry ourself in to have our own strength. There's nothing wrong with saying I can't handle that right now. Yeah, and then nothing wrong. That doesn't mean that you're not you know, you're you're just as good as you know, you've been in the past, but it's, it's okay. And I think for the listeners out there, when you're in a very, very difficult painful spot, and you're trying to overcome it. When negativity when maybe even sympathy maybe tears and all that it's okay to say, you know, like my sister said to me, that, that doesn't help me. And when I heard that, it changed me completely. Every time I go to a funeral, every time I listen to another person suffering, I kind of realized, wait a minute, wait, how much am I tangling myself in this thing? versus having understanding of what that person is going through? Right?

Robert Paylor 23:57
Yeah, it's a very accurate observation. It's certainly been true. In my life, mental toughness on a rugby team has the ability to focus on the next most important thing. And sometimes crying is not the next most important thing, you know. And that situation, I need to be focused on whether I was going to go into the surgery or not, I need to keep my mindset together so that I can make clear decisions in this in that moment outside of this negative emotion that was coming down on me. So you know, sometimes we were all going to have to deal with that eventually. And I have had to deal with that those negative emotions. I'm grateful I did because they'll boil over if you don't, but in that moment, I needed to allow myself to purely focus on what was going on from like a tactical perspective.

Andrew Stotz 24:45
So and it worked. And so let's now go into that, that last part of your story, which is how you went from that point, to being able to walk again because I'm telling you, people that are listening and people that have listened to you around the world, there are plenty of people that either physically facing a huge physical challenge, or they're facing an emotional challenge, or they're facing a mental challenge. But definitely, we are all facing our challenges. And tell us a little bit about how you went from that point after the surgery to your first steps.

Robert Paylor 25:20
It was a lot of things. And there's a lot of tools that I've had to use to get to this moment. And I will say, like, the single greatest tool that helped me then and continues to help me today is perspective. Now, perspective is such a powerful tool, and it can really hurt us and it can really help us. Because there's two ways that we can practice perspective. On one hand, I can look at these periods of my life when I had everything, you know, I was getting ready to compete for a national championship, I was the number one public university, in the world with great friends, great family, all those things are going for me in life. And I could also compare my current reality to the people who just have everything, it seems like they all got it going on. And when I compare that to what I was going through, then, and a lot of times what I go through now, well, that's terrible. I mean, biolabs absolutely jerawat I compare it to that, or I can look at these other situations. You know, like that story of talent, I can look at these other situations of people who I don't know, personally, some that I do know, personally, who are going through really horrible situations in situations that nobody should ever have to go through. And I'm looking at them, a lot of times, you know, with a smile on their face explaining how they make their lives happen. Outside, remind me not to complain about anything ever again, I have this saying that I use and it helps me persevere and times when I'm feeling down, and I'm feeling sorry for myself. And it's compared to what. So I'll be like, Oh, I'm so tired. But compared to why this is really difficult. But compared to what, there's a lot that I do have in my life, there's so much that I can do in my life that others would give so much to have and be able to do that statement. It's not meant to dismiss our challenges, because that's a very unhealthy thing to dismiss that we're going through something difficult, and we need to push through it. What it is meant to do is just put it into perspective, to help us realize the things that we have to help us realize all that we can do and take advantage of it. You know, that was a mental tool that helped me because it's a day to day grind that I did go through and I continue to go through to this day, I would Will my body to move I would just I'd look at my hand and I'd squeeze it as hard as I could 20 reps, I did this exercise, I start up at my upper traps, that was something I could do, I could move my shoulders up, and I would go all the way down every muscle to the bottom of my toes, and I would do 20 reps to get them to contract. I didn't get everything. I didn't get anything to move for six weeks. I mean six weeks, multiple times a day, hundreds of reps, I got nothing and I'm like sweating in this badge is gritting my teeth doing everything I can I was getting nothing. It was on Father's Day of 2017 I use like a flicker movement I don't want to my toes, they gave me gave me some affirmation that this thing was working the system was waking up it would have the twitch a finger able to you know twitch my legs and working with these these doctors and physical therapists to well my body to walk again. I mean, it's not even inch by inch, it's not even millimeter by millimeter. Alright, it's like neuron synapse to neuron synapse and trying to build my muscle strength back up, it's been a journey, that's, you know, it's taken me 14 139 days to get to this, it took me 12 120 days to be able to stand up out of my wheelchair for the first time. And every single one of those days, negativity tries to creep its way into my mind. You know, I start maybe feeling sorry for myself. And that perspective has helped me to be able to push through all those days to where I was able to stand up out of my wheelchair, where I am able to walk up to 300 yards now, and to one day, I will hopefully get out of this wheelchair.

Andrew Stotz 28:55
What strikes me that you have that is that there's a meditation that I did many years ago when I was in rehab. And they asked us to lie down on the floor. And then they asked us to Okay, squeeze the muscles on, you know, on your forehead, then let them loose and then go through and they had us go through a whole body. And okay, squeeze your biceps, now your triceps. Now your forearms now, you know, and now, you know you've just given a whole new meaning to that meditation exercise, you know, of really getting awareness and build, you know, you were recreating that awareness, but I think maybe that's a great takeaway for the audience to to think about is to sit down or lay down on the floor on the bed, and just really feel your ability to control each part of your body. So maybe, I'll just just share a couple quick things and you've already touched me and I've shared some of this stuff, but I think you know, I just I guess the biggest takeaway that I have from this, for me is the idea that when you face your biggest challenge, as many people could be facing right now, when you're listening, the first thing is that you can overcome insurmountable odds. Yes. And so, you know, don't let the world convince you otherwise. And so I think that's one of my biggest. And I think the reason why I really broke down when I heard your story was because I thought was my problem. You know, what is it? I'm all upset about? Yeah. You know, as I'm walking in the park. Yeah, you know, and, you know, I want to challenge the listeners out there, I'm going to ask you this question. What's your biggest problem? Because I can tell you, it's probably not as big as what Roberts facing or what he faced. And as, I think I remember from that podcast interview that you said, you know, just because you hear my voice, and everything sounds good, doesn't mean my life's back to normal. It's a struggle to get on this call, it's a struggle to, you know, to do just run my daily life. So sometimes this listening, you voice can kind of give a false belief that, hey, everything solved, no, there's still a lot of challenge. So I think the first thing I want to take away from it is this idea that you can overcome insurmountable odds. And the second thing I want to take away from it that I got from it was this idea of, you know, like, that there's a higher purpose. And if you're religious, it may be a purchase purpose related to serving God or, but if you're not religious, it may be a purpose of serving others. But what I learned from your story, and what I also learned from my sister in that case, was, stop making it all about yourself, and start thinking about how you can impact others. And when you do, as we've learned from you, no matter how bad your situation is, there are people out there that are suffering much more, in fact, I oftentimes say, take a walk to the nearby hospital, there are people in that hospital that will not finish this day. And they will give her anything to have your problem. So you really help put things into perspective, is there anything you'd add to what I took away from what you've said?

Robert Paylor 32:36
You know, you summarized it so well. And, you know, one of the things that I like, maybe didn't touch on as much that you did, that really resonates me with me, and I like to share is just believing. And yourself. What was it, Henry Ford, who said, He who says he can, and he says he can't are both usually right, or something along those lines. It's, you know, it's almost become cliche now, but it's so true. And in order to like, first overcome these sorts of challenges, we really do have to have that belief. And I believe that I will walk again, from day one. And I've still believed, you know, today that I will get out of this wheelchair permanently, one day, that will happen for me, in my life. How belief can be tested at times, there's doubts that creep in, but witnessing what others have gone through, and the evidence that's been shown in my life, and just having that insatiable appetite to achieve this goal, my beliefs man unshaken. And I hope that by others seeing the story that the belief in them achieving their goals can remain unshaken to.

Andrew Stotz 33:41
It's interesting, I have a course that I made over the years called achieve your goals. And I have a section in AI called Building belief. And, you know, when I think about belief, there's kind of two ways to look at it. Firstly, is the belief that you had, there was an innate belief that no, I'm going to do this. Yeah, but there are times in our lives when we don't have the belief. And we have to build that belief. And you know, what I come to, to understand about building belief is creating a very clear vision, in my case, not a visual thing. I'm more of a writing guy to write it out. You know, like and, and, and then once you've read it out, repeating it to yourself over and over again until you start to convince yourself and convince other people around you. So I love this idea of believing in Ladies and gentlemen, you know, who are listening. If you don't have the belief, you can build it. And if you have the belief, never let it go. Alright, so based upon what you've learned from this story, and what you continue to learn in your life, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering? The same fate

Robert Paylor 34:58
you know, I Really don't feel like I've suffered too much. You know,

Andrew Stotz 35:04
that's crazy to hear you say that. Yeah, as outside, I'm a little bit like, I'm with my sister going, Oh, man, oh my god. But yeah, to hear you say that gets me out of that. So keep keep talking, there's

Robert Paylor 35:18
maybe maybe a better way to say it is I haven't made a decision that has caused me to suffer. You know, I wouldn't take back going and playing rugby. I wouldn't even take back this happening to me, really, I would say I have suffered when I was in that hospital. And I was fighting for my life. That that was that was truly suffering in a way that I haven't and done previously, and I haven't done since, you know, when I was getting my lungs, pumped on, tubes shoved up my nose Should I so I could be able to eat and the barely sleeping at all every single day, you know, with a potential reality that I might not live another day. You know, that was suffering. But it's not something that, that I made a decision that like, put me into it. Because you know what happened? What happened to me, you know, it was illegal and important for the laws of rugby. And I think the where I suffered most in my injury was the hatred I had towards the person who broke my neck. In the beginning, I really had a lot of hatred to him. And there, you know, when I looked at pictures, and I watched videos of this guy read to me down illegally by my neck and driving my skull into the turf. I wanted to be so angry. I wanted to hate this person. And I wanted him to hurt like I've hurt because this guy's never reached out to me. I mean, you know, 1400 39 days later, he has never said he's sorry. And now I forgive him whether he's sorry or not. Because I realized I was so much pain that I was going through with that hatred I had in my heart and trying to suppress it and I and make this conscious decision to forgive him. It was a real intentional action that I was taking to forgive him. Because when people ask, asked me, you know, what do you think about this guy, I started saying I forgive him, I wish him well. And in my heart, I didn't feel it. I didn't feel it at all, I really still did have that hatred, but I made that conscious decision to forgive. And, and over time, as I continued to make that conscious decision, that hatred went down, that pain that I had within me went down to where, you know, now fast forward. I mean, I don't even give this guy thought I use it as a story to help other people. But I really do forgive him, I truly do wish him well. And I think other people need to think about if there's someone in their life that they need to forgive, if there's even a situation in their life that they need to forgive just being mad at the universe, mad at the circumstances that are acting upon them to be able to forgive that and focus on the things that are positive in their life that they have going for them and that they can control that helps that pain go away. And that kind of suffering go away.

Andrew Stotz 38:05
Well, that's great, actionable advice, you know, I want to reinforce that with the listeners. Think about that person or that circumstance or that thing that you are really resentful for. And remember that resentment means to refill your refilling that, think about that. And remember, if Robert can overcome that resentment in such an extreme case, you can too. And as one of my counselors said to me when I was a young kid, he said, resentment rots the container it's in. So absolutely true. If we can stop that rot today. So I challenge the listeners on that. All right, last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12

Robert Paylor 38:50
months? Yeah, I have a vague goal setter, I'll tell you that. You know, I've had this goal to get out of my wheelchair one day and never get back in it again. And unfortunately, I don't think that's gonna happen this year. It's gonna take time it is I'm like, I'm fully aware of that. I know this is going to take years, if it ever even does happen. But you know, like you talked about the vision. I envisioned myself one day getting out of this wheelchair and never getting it ever again. And in order to get that I've also had kind of like visions along the way. First, I envisioned myself being able to close my hands, being able to pick up a water bottle and bring it to my face and stand on my own two feet. For the first time I envisioned those moments that build that hunger and appetite to believe in myself and the motivation to keep moving forward every day and the vision I have for myself in a year is it's not gonna sound like like much but it's really big to me, is to be able to do something like stand up out of my bed or couch in my house. I'm not able to stand up at a couch in my house for so that's got to happen, and be able to just like get in my car and go to a restaurant and sit down in a booth and eat a meal, get up out of that booth into my car, and back to that couch, something that's just like so real life. Now, it really may not think may seem like that much to a lot of people that just be able to stand up and go to a restaurant so that people do every day. But it's something that I've just I've had within me. And I think that a year is a realistic time to make something like happen. And it's just one step closer to never needing that wheelchair ever again.

Andrew Stotz 40:35
Well, you've got a new base of fans in my fellow risk takers in this podcast. And we look forward to watching you, as you know, get to that point, and we have no doubt that you can get there. So listeners that you haven't another story of loss to keep you winning. As we conclude, Robert, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a start Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment experience ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience,

Robert Paylor 41:15
I just want to say thank you. And I want to say thank you for having me on the show for everybody listening to this today, truly sharing this story. And these principles and knowing that it inspires others is the purpose of my life. And it is what makes it to her. The reason why I wouldn't change what happened to me because it means that much to me. So if everybody there, if anybody would like to connect with me, it's very easy to do. So there are not a lot of Robert Taylor's in this world. So I'm on Instagram, LinkedIn, you know, Twitter, Facebook, all those other platforms, like you said, my websites, www Robert paler.com. But I encourage you please reach out to me if this inspired you, it is the driver behind what I do. And I hope that it also helps your mental diet. You know, we've talked about those daily actions that we take every single day to feed our mind positive information, I post on my rehabilitation, which is pretty much every single day and try to help give that little dose to the mental diet. So I hope by following me that it helps you in that way. But more than anything, I just want to thank you for having me and listening to me today.

Andrew Stotz 42:19
Well, it's been great having you on the show. And I want to say that for the listeners out there, take it take Robert to heart, I'll have the links to all of his social media and places where he is in the show notes. So you can just click on those and go there. And I also want to challenge the listener to share this message. I mean, the minute I heard you, I wanted to share your story with my audience and I encourage the listeners to share because I believe that Robert really can help us all to overcome the challenges that we face. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our wealth and really our health. Fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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