A couple of years ago, I crossed paths with Randy Gage on Twitter and innocently clicked on one of his blog articles. I got sucked into reading his blog instead of selling videophones, which was my job at the time. I was intrigued by Randy’s passion for life and his out-of-the-box views. He’s not one to hold back on any topic and his mission is to get people out of their comfort zone and into the kind of living that matters. Randy is a well-known speaker–he has spoken to over 2 million people in more than 50 countries–so it’s a bit of a surprise to learn he is really an introvert.
“That always shocks people, because I’m a speaker,” said Randy. “Speaking doesn’t make me nervous because I can control it. Off the platform, I’m a shy, quiet, reclusive person.” Randy came into his speaking career almost by accident. Years ago, he did some training sessions for his work and people began asking him to speak more and more. “The next thing I knew, I became a speaker,” he said. “I was meant to do that, I guess. Our assignment in life discovers us; we don’t discover it.”
Becoming a multi-millionaire wasn’t in the cards when Randy was expelled from high school and landed in jail for armed robbery as a teen, but when he lay in the streets with a bullet in his side after being robbed himself, Randy turned to self-help to create a new direction. He made his first millions through network marketing.
Randy was never an athlete while growing up. During a charity softball tournament, Randy discovered he truly enjoyed the game. At the age of 40, he joined a softball league and a new passion was born. Sixteen years later, he still looks forward to every game, despite some physical challenges that have cropped up.
“We all should have something to take our minds off work and to escape,” Randy said. “Softball helps me keep active and stay in shape. I play with older guys now, in a 55 and older league–some are 70 and 72–I celebrate that. So many people stop exercising at 30.”
“When we get to midlife we slow down, we have some physical things that change, there is some physiological things that will cause us to pace ourselves in different ways. I can’t play at 56 like I would at 20–we have to make allowances– too many people give up so easily. ‘I’m out of shape, I’m overweight, I’m old, I can’t do nothing,’–that’s a crime to let that happen.”
Randy may not physically be able to run as fast as he could as a youngster, but he can still hit the ball and set personal records. In a recent game, he slammed out four home runs, something he had never done in 16 years of league play.
But let me back up here a bit…
A year ago, Randy went through two operations on his spine to provide him some relief from constant pain. And he endured two more operations recently. “I went through four spinal surgeries, I was shot in a robbery years ago, I’ve been HIV positive since 2006–we all have physical challenges. We all do what we can the best we can.”
Randy could have easily hung up his cleats after the second…or third…or even the fourth operation, but he didn’t. And because he chose to pursue something he was passionate about, he was able to experience a personal best (4 home runs) that he couldn’t even fathom before the game began. He had arrived home jet-lagged and exhausted from a trip–and wasn’t sure he could find the energy to get through the game. “That was a wake up call for me,” Randy said. “As long as you get yourself out there and give yourself a chance, great things can happen.”
Tap Into Your Creative Genius
Why is the default setting almost always, “that’s impossible,” or “it just can’t be done? That’s the question that Randy asks in his new book, Mad Genius. “Mad Genius starts with a decision,” Randy writes. “The decision to tap your genius is about thinking in new and different ways. It happens when you refuse to accept ‘no’ and decide to find a way. Even when there isn’t a way.”
We have the capacity to tap into our creative genius, yet, many of us barely scratch the surface of what we are capable of. As we add up the birthday candles on our cake, there’s a collective movement to “settle,” to accept the status quo of what it means to become older or to do things the way everyone else does them–because, you know, if so many people are doing something in a certain way, the masses must be right.
There’s a lot in the book for people who are looking for boldness in their lives, Randy told me, because we are looking at cloning and bio-engineering. People who can live to be 1,000 years old have already been born. “The world is changing how we even think about our role in the world. We have to challenge ourselves to be available for all the exciting possibilities we have available to us now.”
“Be bold, take a risk,” Randy said. “Take a chance, take the shot, go after it. I have buried too many friends in their 20’s and 30’s–they died too young. They don’t have any more days left. You have to live every day like it’s your last because some day… it will be.”