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The following prayer has been attributed to legendary explorer Sir Francis Drake and when I saw it recently, it was too good not to share:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim. Read the rest of this entry »

So many choices.

Will I smile at the other drivers in the busy school carpark?

Will I encourage someone who looks dispirited?

Will I help someone in need of assistance?

Will I cheer my kids on in their endeavours?

Will I pray for someone?

Will I laugh at myself to make someone else smile?

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Last week, we had a new addition to the family, with Winston the golden retriever joining our clan.

He is a beautiful bundle of joy who spends much of his time sleeping and the rest of his days ambushing our other goldie, 2 year-old Dusty.

Of course, she is much bigger than him and swats him away like a fly, but he keeps coming back for more.

He gets knocked over and gets straight back up again with his teeth bared in mock aggression.

He runs frantically around the dining room table and tries another angle of attack.

He’s determined.

He’s irrepressible.

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I’ve met many extremely talented people in my time.

Some were extraordinary musicians, some phenomenal athletes and some were just super-smart individuals capable of remarkable work.

I’ve also met more than a few people who, like the rest of us, aren’t blessed with obvious natural capabilities.

They didn’t stand out in school.

No-one was in awe of them from a young age.

People didn’t expect great things from them.

But from the talented few, not all of them went on to achieve great things.

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Some people have an all or nothing mentality.

If they don’t know that they can win, they don’t play.

If they can’t give it 100% of their attention and energy, then they give it nothing at all.

If they can’t change everyone’s minds, then they don’t bother speaking at all.

And as a consequence, we get nothing happens a lot more than we get all.

But what if you had an all or something attitude?

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The world seems very angry at the moment.

People are angry at each other.

They’re angry at the other guy.

Fearful, suspicious and distrusting.

Let’s change that.

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When he finally broke his silence after winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, Bob Dylan said,

“I’d like to drive a race car on the Indianapolis track. I’d like to kick a field goal in an NFL football game. I’d like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball. But you have to know your place.  There might be some things that are beyond your talents.

Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for.”

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One of the greatest ice skaters of all time and 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Shizuka Arakawa of Japan, is estimated to have fallen over 20,000 times in practice on her way to the top of her sport.

That’s a lot of tumbles.

That’s a lot of bruises.

That’s a lot of persistence.

That’s a lot of clumsy and embarrassing moments.

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I had the privilege last night of speaking at the Rotary Club of Glen Waverley, a terrific group of people who are serving their local community and having fun doing so.

As is customary on such occasions, at the completion of my presentation, I was given a special glass, with the Rotary branding as a gift.

When I got home, I carried the glass inside the house and wondered to myself, “What do I do with this glass now?  Do I place it on a shelf somewhere to look at and admire, or do I put it in the cupboard with the other glasses to be used?”

As I pondered this conundrum, it made me think about our gifts and abilities.

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what-does-your-fearDoes your fear prevent you from doing dangerous activities?

Does it stop you from taking unnecessary risks?

Does it protect you from ever feeling rejected?

Does it remind you of the need to colour within the lines and not create waves?

Does it force you to make decisions that create a better sense of comfort and security?

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