The trick that can change everything

warning - it involves algebra

The “iMessages” notification kept popping up across my screen, and I kept closing it.

I was in the middle of a group coaching call where I was one of the coaches.

The people on the call had paid a lot of money to be there, and I was struggling to stay attentive.

But my wife kept sending me a flurry of text messages.

 I thought I had muted notifications on my computer, but apparently macOS knows better than to mute my wife.

 “His teacher just called my cell to tell me he’s failing math!”

“He has a 36%. That’s a giant F! Haven’t you been spending hours with him on math homework?”

“He doesn’t get ANY game time until he has a passing grade! No screens!  Can you confiscate the…”

 I momentarily turned off my video while I messed around with notification settings.  I couldn’t deal with this at the moment.

I ended up muting and minimizing the SMS app for the rest of the coaching call. I mentally set aside the new problem that awaited me as best I could.

You see, our son had recently started Algebra, and was struggling to understand the concepts.

I had been spending hours in the evenings trying to help him with his homework.

And so far, our combined efforts had yielded a 36% in the class.




Over the next couple of days, there were phone calls with the teacher, sessions with a tutor, and collective frustration in our home so thick you could trip over it.

And then, one day, it finally clicked.

“Ah! So I can do whatever I want to this side of the equation, as long as I do the same thing to the other side too?”

I watched as his face reflected a moment of realization and wonder.

“So I can just multiply by negative one, and turn all the negatives into positives?”

YES, I thought.  


This was more than just an algebra lesson.

He had discovered one of the secrets of life.

You can simply multiply by negative one, and turn negatives into positives.


Two weeks later, after brokering a deal with the teacher to turn in a pile of make-up work, my son’s grade was up to a B-.

He proudly reported to my wife and I that he now helped other students in class who were having trouble.

Because of his initial hardships, he was uniquely qualified to help others through similar struggles.

He had successfully turned a weakness into a strength.

Multiply by negative one.


So, what are your weaknesses?

I want you to spend some time digging deep.

Next, think deeply about how to reposition those weaknesses as strengths.


Lack of expertise?  Become innovative and unconventional.

Lack of depth? You are well-rounded.

Lack of capital?  Be resourceful.

Lack of time? Seek ruthless efficiency.

Multiply by negative one.


Seriously, spend some time thinking about this. It might seem trivial now, but when it clicks, everything changes.

 If you need some help turning negatives into positives, hit reply.  I’ll leave my notifications on, I promise.

 Looking forward to doing some math with you.


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