Do you feel blocked from achieving your full potential? Are you tired of not being able to break through from a trauma that happened earlier in your life? Samuel P. “Pat” Black III (Pat Black), founder of visionary businesses and philanthropic organizations is my guest today and shares some tips for overcoming past traumas to achieve greatness. Here’s what he has to say:

The Flourishing Life
Tools to Transform from Victim to Victor?by
Pat Black

Many of the most creative and innovative people throughout history have been considered “tortured geniuses.” Some struggled with addiction, childhood abuse and trauma yet overcame them to make huge contributions that changed the world.

So how can a creative person overcome the past to achieve their full potential greatness? In The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness, author Alice Miller examines how one troubled child channels her pain into art while another vents his anguish in destructive acts. She finds that having an “enlightened witness” who offers the child hope makes a critical positive difference, while authoritarian responses that suppress a child’s needs are harmful and dangerous.

Unfortunately, many of the institutions we have set up whether in education, religion or work, suppress creativity and focus instead on teaching conformity and obedience to authority. The existing system is not working to empower people to achieve their creative potential because it so often stifles our creative gifts.

People who “get the call” – those whose contributions change the world – are always creative thinkers. Many were abused or suffered trauma as children. As Miller points out, it is how one deals with that trauma that can make the difference between a Picasso and a Hitler.

Here are some common traits of those who are able to overcome past traumas to achieve greatness:

1.    Acceptance – You have to get to the level of acceptance about your past and be willing to keep it conscious, which requires work and practice. Acceptance goes beyond what happened in your past.  As you grow and take the call, you must accept that things will change whether they be perceived as good, bad, or indifferent.  Part of change is accepting that it is what it is. It’s allowing the process to unfold without force and being open to what is meant to happen. It is your own process. There is no instruction manual as to how each person will go through the process. Just let it be and it will be.

2.    Awareness – Develop an awareness of how you are affected by your external environment. In my personal experience, I often found myself reactive to what was going on around me. I had to learn to use tools like detachment when I began to feel overwhelmed. When you learn to detach, whether it is through meditation, exercise, or fully experiencing nature, you allow your thoughts and emotions to heal. You become more directed from the inside, which makes you better able to re-engage in your external environment.

3.    Discipline – Discipline is based on being able to see the bigger picture of what you want to achieve and be in your life. Then you can begin to see the consequences of your behavior and change your behavior in order to adapt to the bigger picture.

4.    Perception – This is about an attitude toward learning and understanding that life is all about lessons. It’s going through the struggle of learning life’s lessons without running away from them or turning your back on them. Because they will keep coming until you get them.

Have you seen the bumper sticker that says “Oh no, not another learning experience”? Unfortunately, that’s how many people approach harder lessons in life, so they keep missing what life is trying to teach. Whenever you go through a real learning experience, it’s going to be uncomfortable, yet few people are willing to allow themselves to be uncomfortable.

Be willing to study all paths to knowledge and experience all life is trying to teach. If you have just intellectual learning without the experiential part of it, it won’t do you any good. You must have a hunger to grow to your full abilities and be willing to push against your comfort zone. That’s the way highly creative people change themselves, and change the world.

Samuel P. “Pat” Black III (Pat Black), founder of visionary businesses and philanthropic organizations, aims to create an environment where today’s unconventional thinkers can thrive. One of his groundbreaking companies include HERO Bx, LLC one of the largest biodiesel manufacturers in the Northeast. He’s building “The Flourish Summit” to give communities tools, spaces and programs nonconformist leaders will use to find solutions to today’s most pressing challenges. Learn more at

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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