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I used to always feel sorry for the poor person who came fourth in the Olympics.
They sit in the stands watching the three people who beat them, listening to another country’s national anthem and missing out on the medals.
They nearly made it.
They just missed out.
They must wonder, “If only I had trained a bit harder, or been a bit luckier, maybe that could have been me on the podium.”
But when you think about it, coming fourth in the Olympics is still a remarkable achievement.
Don’t do it because it’s your job.
Don’t do it because it’s expected.
Don’t do it because everyone else is doing it.
Don’t do it because someone is watching.
Don’t do it because you need the money.
Leonardo da Vinci is credited with saying,
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Do you want to be a person of accomplishment?
Do you want to live a life of purpose and meaning?
It won’t just happen.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it.
Don’t look around hoping that someone else will take responsibility.
Don’t sit back and watch others take charge.
Don’t hesitate, justifying to yourself that you’re not ready.
Don’t keep your hand down, hoping that they won’t notice what you have to offer.
Don’t assume that others are more qualified and better equipped to do the work.
It’s your turn.
There are few better experiences than sitting on the couch with one of my kids, with my arm around them as they read about Venus fly traps, sea otters, Captain Underpants or any one of a hundred random things.
To help them with the difficult words.
To hear the inflection in their voices.
To explain the concepts that don’t make sense to an 8-year-old.
To see them looking up for approval.
You may not always be able to ensure that you think positive thoughts.
You may not always be able to feel positive about your current circumstances.
And I’m certain that you won’t be able to control how positive the people around you are.
But you can always, always, always control your actions.
So despite your thoughts, your feelings and the people around you, make sure that you are always taking positive action.
Every year we get a couple of loads of firewood delivered to keep us warm and toasty during the cold winter months.
When we got the last load delivered, it was raining and course, the wood got wet.
For the next few weeks, lighting the fire was hard work as the wood was still slightly damp.
The same is true for us too.
We need to be passionate, fired up and enthusiastic to do anything remarkable with our lives, but we can’t get our hearts racing if our fuel is wet.
They can’t take away your positive attitude.
Your capacity for hard work.
Your generous nature.
Your faith when times are tough.
Your gratitude when times a great.
A worrier is concerned about the future.
A warrior says, “Bring it on.”
A worrier is restricted by fear.
A warrior acts in spite of the fear.
A worrier makes others feel more anxious.
A warrior makes others feel stronger and more resilient.
You may not know why you are here.
You may not have a clear purpose for your life yet.
You may feel as though you don’t fit in.
You may look back over your life and think that everything is just a jumbled mess of random events.
But I want to assure you today that you are not an accident.