We live in an ever-changing world.

One where technology is constantly evolving.

Where your competition is forever finding ways to improve.

And as a consequence, what we know today won’t be enough for tomorrow.

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There’s a gatekeeper for your goals.

It’s not your parents and their expectations for your life.

It’s not your partner or your kids and the amount of time that they spend demanding your love and attention.

It’s not your unrealistic and unrelenting boss, with all of her frivolous requirements.

It’s not your peer group, your community or your church.

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A block of land is meant to be built on, not stay vacant forever.

A violin is meant to be played, not remain silent.

A lump of clay is meant to turn into a beautiful piece of art, not stay in the same state.

A bus is meant to ferry passengers to their destination, not sit idly in a parking lot somewhere.

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When you stare down your fears.

I mean really stare them down.

Chest out, shoulders back, barely blinking.

When you look at them with a snarl, speaking powerful words to yourself.

Something remarkable happens.

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Don’t try to please us.

Don’t worry about our opinions of you.

Don’t get anxious about what we are saying about you.

And please don’t try to conform to how you perceive we want you to think or act.

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Compare these two statements:

“Today, I’m going to do my job.”

“Today, I’m going to do my job with enthusiasm.”

Or perhaps these two:

“I’m going to spend time with my family.”

“I’m going to spend time with my family with enthusiasm.”

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Before you hit the big free throw to win the championship, you need to hit thousands of them in practice over many years.

Before you give that big speech in front of hundreds, you need to give dozens of much smaller speeches in front of a handful of people.

Before you prepare a wedding feast for a huge crowd, you need to cook a range of meals for much smaller, less pressured events.

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It doesn’t cost a cent to be a blessing to someone.

There are no sacrifices involved in speaking words of encouragement.

To be generous in your praise won’t bring you hardship.

And there is a bottomless pit of positive things you can say about people.

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Be a learner, not a knower.

Smile when you don’t know something, don’t be embarrassed.

Ask questions, don’t feel compelled to have all of the answers.

Stay curious, don’t become cynical.

Embrace that you don’t know everything, don’t be threatened by it.

Surround yourself with smart people, not yes-people.

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When things go wrong (as they inevitably will).

When you reach for the stars, but fall into the mud.

When others mock and criticise your efforts.

When you fall embarrassingly short of your own expectations.

Don’t retreat into smallness.

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