Josh Sundquist is what you’d call a YouTube sensation. We love to watch his many videos on hilarious observations, interesting perspectives, and stories that warm our hearts. We’ve been following him over the years and we are very excited to share this recent chat we had with Josh, on the day of his newest book launch, Love and First Sight.
What does Defy Convention mean to you?
Josh – I think the thing that has reached the most people in my life, would have to be my Halloween costumes. I think those Defy Convention in a sense that being an amputee is generally considered to be a very serious and negative thing. But, with my costumes I’m trying to defy the convention that you can not find humor or creativity within an otherwise negative situation.
What is your biggest passion in life?
Josh – My biggest passion is story telling. I would have to say I deliver my stories in three ways; through my motivational speeches, my YouTube channel, and my books. Really, my speeches and my first two books are about my life whereas my next book will be a novel. It’s a different type of story in the sense that it’s a fictional book that tells a story.
Storytelling is what I have most loved, since I was a child. When I was 6 or 7 years old I got a typewriter and I would write one or two page short stories on it. That would be the thing that I am most passionate about, sharing stories.
When you lost your leg at age 13, did that shape your storytelling?
Josh – If I had not lost my leg to cancer as a child, I probably wouldn’t have become a motivational speaker. I don’t think that is a career that occurs to the average person, and certainly not the average child. If you had asked me when I was a child, what do you want to be when you grow up, I probably wouldn’t have said, I want to be an Inspiration. That being said, what happened to me shaped the trajectory of my life and my career and also the sorts of stories I told.
Would you say humour is the best medicine?
Josh – Having a sense of humour is probably the primary way that I have dealt with the day-to-day ordinary stresses or awkwardness that comes with being an amputee. I don’t necessarily think that humour is the best coping mechanism for dealing with that sudden loss, if you suffer from an amputation in life. But, once you’ve adjusted (generally speaking) to the ways that your body is different, I’ve found that humour is a great outlet. It’s especially useful for those awkward conversations that come up with strangers and that sort of thing. I think humour has shaped my story telling tremendously.
When do you use Stix as opposed to wearing your prosthetic or using other devices?
Josh – I usually use my Stix when I am doing any sort of prolonged activity. I walk or hike 5k everyday so I would say I probably use them for a couple of hours everyday.
I’d say SideStix really changed my life because of the ability they’ve given me to walk longer distances. Walking is my primary hobby and the main way I like to get exercise. Now (with my Stix) I can go so much further than I used to, and without any joint pain.
You also play soccer as a form of exercise, right?
Josh – Yes, I play for the US Amputee Team. Unfortunately, we are all over the US so regular training together is a bit harder for us. Leading up to a tournament I will train and practice for that.
*Side Note – 3 of the 6 players on the USA National Amputee Soccer Team use SideStix including AOM Nico Calabria.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Josh – A perfect day for me would be having the opportunity to do something creative, to do something physical (like exercise) and also to be social. Social in the sense that, I get to spend time with my friends or family, and my wife. A day that is balanced among my favourite activities.
What are your top 5 ways to stay motivated?
1) Heroes or Role Models – People who have accomplished the things that I am trying to do or have done something else equally as inspiring. Those people who have adopted the values that encourage the rest of us to push for and become the best human beings that we can be.
2) Having specific goals or objectives that I am working towards – As opposed to having general goals that are not measurable.
I.e. what does X look like and how can I work towards that goal?
3) Measuring the progress towards that goal. Quoting Tim Ferriss (Author of the 4 Hour Work Week), “The metrics that matter are those that measure your progress towards a well-defined goal. If you can’t measure it, you don’t understand it.” For me, tracking and measuring my improvement over time is very motivating, because I’m getting positive feedback along the way.
4) Consuming creative works. Whether it be at a museum or a film, as someone who creates stories for a living, I find it to be very motivating and inspiring. I love to see how other artists (even those way outside of my genre) think completely outside the box and how they come up with really awesome ideas. It gives me a sense of wonder.
That is one thing that I hope people get from seeing my Halloween costumes. I hope they see the costumes from a new perspective as something maybe they would never have thought of before.
5) Having people in my life that I care about and that care about me. Having other people that believe in you, is a tremendous boost in motivation if you are ever feeling down or uninspired.
Which authors, bloggers, or entrepreneurs do you follow the most online?
Josh – Tim Ferriss, his podcast and his content now is more entrepreneurial focused however I’m curious about how he uses social media etc. Also, the successes he has had since starting as an book author before the big social media boom.
John Green, Author of The Fault in our Stars who has created an incredible community of people online through his videos.
*Side Note (Again) – Here’s a link to Subscribe to Josh’s YouTube Channel
Do you have a message that you’d like to give to other crutch users?
Josh – Sometimes we suggest to others how to perceive us based on how we see ourselves. I think that is extremely important to understand if you are a person with a physical difference (other than that of the average human being). That being said, if you feel uncomfortable with how you are, it tends to suggest to others that they should feel the same way about you. The degree to which you feel comfortable and confident about your self tends to be the same for how others feel when they are around you. As important as that is, it’s also a process. It takes time to get to that level of acceptance and comfort about yourself. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Sure I may be missing a leg and I don’t try to pretend that I’m not. I would hope that when others see me, they don’t just see me as someone missing a leg. They see all the many facets of me.