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Boston Strong. Image from

Boston Strong. Image from

I’ve always had a lot of affection for the city of Boston.

Since I was a child, I have been a fan of the Boston Celtics as Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish led them to multiple championships in the 1980’s.

It’s a beautiful city and is one place that I would love to visit one day, but my heart was lifted even more when I watched the city respond with such resilience in the lead-up to the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

To see the way the Boston Red Sox organisation and fans honoured the survivors of this tragedy was wonderful.

To see runners from all over the world determined not to be kept away from Boston by fear is magnificent.

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Every setback, every obstacle, every time you hear the word “No” could be an excuse to stop and give up.

Or they could be a barrier to success that you’re required to push past.

The most effective salespeople aren’t necessarily the most persuasive, they’re often the most persistent.

The most effective inventors don’t necessarily have the most ideas, they are able to work through every problem that arrives to come up with better solutions.

The most effective business leaders aren’t the ones who never have any setbacks, they’re the ones who keep going in spite of the apparent difficulties.

I want to remind you today that every setback can be an invaluable learning opportunity.

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Hayden’s definition of resilience

Last week, my seven year-old son, Hayden, had to discuss resilience with the family and come up with a definition of the word for his homework.

This is what he came up with:

Resilience is when you keep going and keep smiling even when things get tough.

I love it!

Let me encourage you today, if you are finding life to be a challenge to follow Hayden’s definition.

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Queen live in Frankfurt, Germany (at the Festh...Last weekend, we had a significant issue at church.

There was an electrical problem, that meant there was only about 5% of the normal flow of power coming through to the building where we hold our services.  For a church that uses big sound systems for a full band, has the words to its songs projected onto large screens and requires microphones so that the speaker can be heard by a congregation of 400 people, this is a problem.

We have an outstanding team of volunteers and they used their expertise, creativity and positive attitudes to make the most of what little power we had.  The band went unplugged, we found an old mobile microphone and amp that would ensure that the speakers could be heard and we used some innovative lighting methods so that the stage could be seen.

It wasn’t a perfect situation, but it turned out to be a fantastic service.

Sometimes, we’re faced with challenges in life.

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Australian athlete Sally Pearson recently won the 100 metres hurdles at the World Championships.

In the final, Sally ran the fourth fastest time in history with a phenomenal effort that saw her take victory in convincing fashion.

Hurdling is a gruelling event, with athletes sprinting at full pace before having to launch themselves over an obstacle, trying to maintain balance and form so that they can repeat the process in quick succession and cross the finish line first.

In life, we are often confronted with hurdles.

There are a wide variety of obstacles that get in our way and test our resolve.  They can range in gravity from a simple traffic jam to a marriage conflict, challenging work situation or serious health issue.

How we look at these obstructions will significantly impact our capacity to achieve our full potential in life.

So why do we have hurdles?

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I wrote this story to describe why our common responses to life’s challenges don’t always work as well as we would like.

There was a young man named Tom who lived in a small village.

He was an angry young man, over-reacting to every offense and keeping others at a distance.

In desperation, his parents asked Tom to go and see the eccentric old priest who lived in the village.

The priest was renowned for his unorthodox methods that somehow worked.

When Tom saw the priest, the older man told the youth to go away and come back with two lumps of clay.

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A life without pain seems like a good idea.

No-one in their right mind likes going through pain, it’s annoying and debilitating.

That’s why we prefer things that don’t cause us discomfort.

But is a pain-free existence all it’s made out to be?

I’m not quite sure, especially when I consider this list of  things to keep away from if you want a pain-free life.

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Bison - Alberta

Image via Wikipedia

Wilma Mankiller, the first ever female chief of the Cherokee nation and owner of one of the best surnames in history once said,

Cows run away from the storm while the buffalo charges toward it – and gets through it quicker.  Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment, I become the buffalo.

It’s a great image isn’t it?  A herd of bison steadfastly and slowly progressing in the face of a blizzard rather than running in the other direction.

When confronted with a problem, do you try to avoid it, or do you put your head down and find a way through?

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Photo by Matt Kadlick via Flickr

As I drove down my street the other day, I saw a tree stump.

We had a massive storm a few months ago and the tree was knocked down, leaving branches all over the street.

The City Council came in during the week and removed the branches.  They also sawed down the rest of the tree, leaving nothing but a small stump less than a foot high.

And that was it, the tree was finished.

Or so I thought.

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Man flu is the common ailment that many men have which has them thinking that the slight cold they have is the flu. 

It refers to the tendency that guys have to exaggerate symptoms and the reality that we generally have a lower pain threshold than women. 

Don’t argue guys, it’s true!

Whilst we joke about man flu, I often see the office equivalent that crosses gender lines and limits the effectiveness of far too many people and organisations.

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