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Dr. Rainer Zitelmann talks about his new book ‘Unbreakable Spirit: Rising Above All Odds’

Historian and sociologist Dr. Rainer Zitelmann spoke about his new book “Unbreakable Spirit: Rising Above All Odds.”

Dr. Rainer Zitelmann
Dr. Rainer Zitelmann. Photo Courtesy of Rainer Zitelmann
Dr. Rainer Zitelmann. Photo Courtesy of Rainer Zitelmann

Historian and sociologist Dr. Rainer Zitelmann spoke about his new book “Unbreakable Spirit: Rising Above All Odds.”

As an author, he has published 26 books. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages around the world.

In recent years, he has written articles and been the subject of interviews in such media as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Newsweek.

Book Description

Rainer Zitelmann’s book explores how people with disabilities accomplish the extraordinary in life, and set milestones that seem almost impossible even to most people without disabilities.

Zitelmann profiles 20 different and unique individuals, all of whom have achieved far more than the average, often almost the “superhuman,” even though their disabilities supposedly endowed them with few opportunities and made them, in many respects, dependent on the people around them.

The book reveals the secrets of success and the power of the mind for everyone. We learn what makes a person great: it is the ability to transform one’s weaknesses into strengths, and overcome supposed limitations.

At the time of its release, it reached at No. 1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list in the “Personal Transformation & Spirituality” section, as well as No. 3 in “Mountaineering,” and No. 7 in the “Motivational Growth & Spirituality” section.

Q & A interview

Your book ‘Dare to be Different and Grow Richexplores unconventional paths to success. Could you share some examples of individuals who have achieved success by daring to be different?

People who are extraordinarily successful are different from those who have little or no success in life. If you think and act like everybody else, you will only ever be as successful as everybody else.

To be more successful, you have to think and act differently, and to do that, you must dare to be different. You need the courage to swim against the tide and to question assumptions that are firmly rooted in popular opinion.

Coco Chanel, the French fashion designer and businesswoman, was as successful as she was because she had the courage to be different.

“No intrusion of culture or erudition in the style she created, no historical reminiscences,” as her biographer puts it. “Her creative act was a subversive act.”

Her private life, as well as the fashion she created, was testimony of the courage to resist norms and conventions.

Rebelling against all conventions, she simply sensed the spirit of the times before others did.

You also have a new book out, titled “Unbreakable Spirit: Rising Above All Odds.” Can you share a particularly impactful or surprising story from the book that left a lasting impression on you?

I was particularly impressed by the American mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, who became the first blind person to climb Mount Everest 22 years ago. He is also one of the very few people to have climbed the Seven Summits, the seven highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

In the conversation I had with him about my book, he confessed to me, “I spent about 15 minutes just every day, envisioning myself standing on the summit – to the point where I’d hear the snow crunching under my crampons.

I’d hear the slacks, I’d feel the sky, just feel the cold, and I’d feel the hearts of my teammates, I’d feel the tears, I’d literally start tearing up because I was there. So, yeah, I think that’s what you’re talking about.

And, when I summited Everest, I had summited it 100 times in my mind already. So, I think that kind of belief system and that kind of programming it into your subconscious is hugely important so that you can truly be there.”

How can individuals overcome fear of failure and take calculated risks in their entrepreneurial or career pursuits?

Don’t be afraid of failure. Firstly, if you haven’t tried, you’ve already failed! You must never forget that. Secondly, for me, anyone who never fails is a loser. This may sound paradoxical, but people who never fail have simply never set themselves really big goals in life.

Every successful person fails from time to time, but they learn from their setbacks, get up again, and carry on.

What role do you think mentorship plays in personal and professional development, and have you had influential mentors in your own life?

I think role models are important because you can learn from them and they motivate you.

You don’t have to know them personally; it’s often enough to read their biographies and autobiographies. However, I am skeptical about the concept of “coaching.” Today there are many “life coaches.”

Many of them have never been successful themselves – or the only thing they have been successful at is selling seminars or books about success to others. Most people have what I call an “employee mindset”. As employees, they were told what to do by their boss.

Now, if they want to become successful, they expect the same from a coach. That won’t work.

With my books, I don’t want to take away people’s independent thinking or stop them from searching for their own path to success, but rather help them to find their own way.

His book “Unbreakable Spirit: Rising Above All Odds” is available on Amazon by clicking here.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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