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I was recently asked by one of my subscribers if I could write a letter that she could print and frame to give as a present for her 14 year-old son’s birthday.

This is what I wrote.

Dear …,

As you reach your 14th birthday, I don’t know what the future holds for you.

But this I do know:

There will be challenges, but they can be overcome.

There will be moments when you feel as though you don’t have the answers, but you can learn.

There will be times when you make mistakes, but know that we will always be proud of you.

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The difference between zero sit ups and one is huge.

As is the difference between not reading anything and reading a single page.

There’s a significant disparity between not encouraging your loved ones today and saying one nice thing to them each.

And the same is true when you don’t smile at anyone or choose to smile at one random person.

I know what you’re thinking, it’s not really that big a difference.

You can’t raise a sweat, learn anything significant or invest in a relationship by doing something only once.

But I think of it like this…

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I remember as a child finding it very difficult to walk past a wet slab of cement without grabbing a stick and writing my initials in the pavement.

Hopefully, there’s a statute of limitations on such acts of vandalism, because the streets of Adelaide had “DP” written in quite a few places.

Every time I walked past, I would look at the mark that I had made with pride, knowing that they were there permanently.

Now that I’m older, wiser and a parent, I couldn’t imagine doing something like that, but now I’m aware that there are other ways to leave an indelible mark on the world around me.

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In his best-seller, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” Robin Sharma shares a conversation between two men.

In this conversation, the mentor (Julian), requested that his friend (Peter), get into position to do some push-ups.

“Now do as many as you can possibly do.  Don’t stop until you truly are certain that you cannot do any more.”

Peter struggled to 23 and then collapsed.

“No more, Julian.  This is killing me.  What are you trying to do here?”

“Are you certain that you can’t do any more?”

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Some people think that they’re unable to become a person of influence.

Many assume that they’re unable to get up earlier in the morning to launch themselves into the day with vitality.

Some people say openly that they’re unable to start their own business or find work that they can get excited about.

Many make the excuse that they’re unable to get themselves into shape physically.

Some people think that they are unable to be successful in anything of importance.

Many say that they are unable to learn new skills or become elite in their field.

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There was a time when the safe and responsible career choice was to find a job in a large organisation.

The larger the better.

Preferably in banking, insurance, utilities or perhaps even the public service.

You had a job for life.

The work may have been largely anonymous and what you did wasn’t that important or life-changing, but if you went in every day, punched the clock and repeated the process for years and perhaps even decades, you were safe and received a steady paycheck.

Of course, there were the occasional renegades who worked for a fringe organisation or perhaps were even reckless enough to start their own business.

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No-one can force you:

  • To love or to hate.
  • To believe or disbelieve.
  • To live with hope or despair.
  • To see the world in colour or black and white.
  • To keep learning or to stagnate.
  • To focus on the positive or negative aspects of life. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes, I sit down to write and nothing seems to flow.

I may write a few words, or even sentences, only to delete them.

Perhaps, I may have nothing at all.  I just can’t think of a thing to write.

There are no guarantees.

But I know that if I don’t show up and sit down at my keyboard, I won’t write a single word.

Sometimes, I spend time with my kids and I’m not the best dad.

I may be impatient or grumpy.

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I love watching great magicians and illusionists.

I’m amazed at their ability to perform feats that don’t seem logical.

It makes you believe that anything is possible.

I love hearing stories of inspirational people who have overcome extraordinary odds to achieve great deeds.

I’m amazed at their capacity to not accept their circumstances, but remain positive and push through despite their situations.

It makes you believe that anything is possible.

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I once knew a Company Director who would regularly warn his workforce, “Failure is not an option.”

He demanded flawless execution and everyone worked diligently to meet his expectations.

He also wanted his staff to be innovative.

Of course, that was never going to work.

If you want to be truly innovative, you need to be prepared to fail… a lot.

I’m not talking about shoddy work, cutting corners or tolerating mediocrity from yourself.

But to come up with new ways of serving customers, increasing efficiency and genuinely innovative ways of marketing your products, failure is a very good option.

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