Former major league pitcher Jim Abbott has long captivated audiences with his inspiring story. Most recently, he served as the kick-off keynote speaker for the Irrigation Show in Las Vegas.
Abbott spoke to a packed room of hundreds of attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center about overcoming the obstacle of only having one hand. With many on hand to figure out new ways to conduct business, he harped on the acronym ADAPT, which stands for adjustability, determination, accountability, perseverance and trust.
“I come here this morning to tell you that we can do something about the challenges that come before us," said Abbott. "Challenge takes on a lot of forms. What are you going to do about it? What action are you going to take?”
Abbott also used stories from his own life to illustrate some of his key speaking points. In one of those, he talked about how his teacher taught him to tie his shoes one-handed, a perfect example of importance of learning new strategies.
Abbott's tale about being mocked as a high schooler was meant to stress the importance of ignoring cynics in the workplace. The most powerful anecdote revolved around staying strong, something he learned throwing a no-hitter just five days after giving up several runs against the same lineup.
Abbott has been an in-demand name on the motivational speaking circuit since he retired from baseball in 1999. He had a successful decade-long career despite being born without a right hand.
Abbott would switch his glove immediately after he threw a pitch, something that garnered him acclaim national acclaim beginning in college at the University of Michigan. For the Wolverines, he won the Golden Spikes Award and the James E. Sullivan Award.
Prior to embarking on his pro career, Abbott won an Olympic gold medal in 1988. He wound up winning 87 games in the major leagues, highlighted by a banner 1991 season when he went 18-11 with a 2.89 ERA and finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting.
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Jim Abbott Keynotes TEDxSageHillSchool: