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Sometimes, we wish that we had more courage to do the things that we know we should.

We pray for it.

We read about it.

We hang around people who have it.

We really, really, really, really want it.

But it doesn’t work that way.

You don’t get courage, you build it.

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A couple of weeks ago, Karen and I took the kids to a local park that has a pond.

We took some bread and fed the various ducks, coots and a solitary pelican.  I wasn’t aware that pelicans are partial to bread, but that’s beside the point.

As we fed them, I noticed something interesting.

There was a large bunch of about 30 ducks that had gathered together a few metres away from the water’s edge in deeper water.  They scrapped and fought for the few pieces of bread that were thrown into their midst.

There was also a solitary duck that had the courage to swim away from the flock and come closer to shore.

It realised that my five-year-old daughter, Madison, didn’t have such a strong arm and so there was a lot of bread on offer.

That duck ate well.

People aren’t that different.

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Photo by Celso Flores via Flickr

It’s that time of the year when the Tour de France is on.

Whilst I don’t claim to know a lot about cycling, I have a lot of admiration for this great sporting event which manages to combine phenomenal feats of endurance in breathtakingly beautiful countryside.

As I observe the epic of the tour, I can see three distinct categories of riders on any normal stage.

They’re the stragglers, the peloton and the fearless few and I suspect that at any one time, we are in one of these three categories ourselves.

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amy Whale, breaching, Stellwagen Bank National...

Image via Wikipedia

Whales are truly magnificent creatures.

Their massive size, grace and seemingly gentle nature makes them a popular tourist attraction and there are quite a few places along the coast of Australia where you can go at certain times of the year and witness them as they follow their annual migration patterns.

In many ways it’s a shame that we only get to admire them when they come to the surface.  When they come up to expel air from their blow-hole and breath or perhaps to leap out of the water entirely, it’s an amazing sight and this is what leads to what I call “the Whale Paradox”.

You see, whales are at their most magnificent when they come up to the surface from the anonymity of the deep, but it is there that in the past they have been the most vulnerable to unscrupulous hunters armed with harpoons.

In many ways, this is the same for us.

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Snow scene at Shipka Pass

Image via Wikipedia

Avalanches are incredibly destructive forces that take all before them.

They are often initiated by a loud noise, then the snow begins to build up, gradually gathering momentum until it becomes an unstoppable force.

Why not start one of our own?

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In many sports, there are moments when you can choose to commit to the contest and risk injury in the quest for greatness and victory for your team, or you can back down and risk mediocrity.  Avoiding physical contact is called taking the “soft option.”

Every day, we are confronted with multiple choices.  How we act on those options will determine our future success.

In life, most people choose what’s easiest, what they’ve always chosen, what’s most convenient, what they see everyone choose, perhaps what their parents chose.

If you want to make the most of your life and stand out from the crowd, don’t take the soft option.

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A white-tailed deer

Image via Wikipedia

The answer to this question seems obvious, but it would surprise you.

In the year 2000, bears killed 6 people in the USA, whilst deer were responsible for 83 deaths in the same year.

Of course, bears kill people by attacking them with their razor sharp teeth and claws, but deer just happen to walk inadvertently in front of cars causing serious accidents.

Sometimes, the things that we fear cause less carnage than less obvious dangers.

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Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan 1997

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a boyhood dream.

The clock is running down, the game is close and you have the ball.  This is the moment when heroes are made.  Taking the big shot in basketball, stepping up to take the penalty in a football shoot-out or lining up for goal after a big pack mark in Aussie rules.

Do you shoot, pass or panic?

Do you have what it takes?

Do you even want to be there?

What do you think winners want?

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When I first started blogging, one of the scariest things that I did was to click on the “Publish” button.  My finger would hesitate over the mouse and the heart-rate would increase slightly, partly out of excitement and partly out of fear.

A myriad of questions came up for me:

“What if no-one reads it?”

“What if what I’ve written is wrong?”

“What if I offend someone?”

“What if I can’t keep it up?”

“What if there are lots of spelling errors that I’ve missed?”

As you can see, none of these questions were particularly resourceful.  Even Life Coaches and Pastors can have their doubts sometimes, especially when it comes to their own work.

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There is only one you.

You are completely unique.

In the course of human history there has never been anyone quite like you.

There will never be another you.

You have unique talents, gifts, interests, passions and a personal history that has prepared you for this moment.

Now is the time to step up into all you need to be.

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