“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” James Allen

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I happen to love sports. Right now is one of my favorite times of the year because March Madness is beginning. These guys have been playing hard all year – they are mentally and physically beat up. Many of them are playing hurt. Five guys are on the court at any given time for each time and they play together as a unit.

While they play as a team, there is usually one player who steps up – who takes the team on his shoulders and scratches and claws for every point until the game ending buzzer goes off. In the interviews after the game you can hear him say something like, “I wasn’t going to let my team lose”, or “I knew it was up to me”. You never hear the best players say “I was just lucky”, or “Whew! I didn’t think I could play like that!”. They believe in themselves and their ability and they get the job done. The best players don’t blame the refs or his teammates. They just win games.

The same principle applies to us in countless situations every day. You have the power to chose what you say, what you eat, what you do and what you believe. You control your own destiny. Yes, you may have been dealt a tough situation and you may not have advantages someone else has.  You can’t change the past, but your future and how you live it is up to you.

Here are some common situations in which this principle can transform your life:

1) Relationships

Do you have a relationship in your life where you feel that you are the one always making all the effort? Or do you have a relationship in your past that is now stagnant because it demands forgiveness on your part and you don’t know if you can do it? You have to decide if those relationships are important to you. If so, make the decision to be ok with the hard work involved. Or decide to forgive the other person – it might not matter to them, but it will to you. And if you can’t do either of those, then let it go with an open heart and move on.

2) Health

Only you have to live with how you feel. Your Dr.’s and coaches can give you the best advice they have, but if you do not follow it, nothing will change. Their lives won’t be effected a year from now when you are still tired, sick, overweight, or on medication, but yours will. And your family’s will. If you are trying to get healthy or lose weight for someone else, you will get tired of it and learn to resent it. If you are waiting for a friend to join a weight loss program or the gym with you, or waiting for time in your schedule, you might be waiting a very long time. Make it happen now and be an example to others. You deserve to do this for yourself and you absolutely have the strength to do it.

3) Finances

It is so easy to blame our individual financial situations on the government, wall street, the economy, gas prices, bad advice, or just bad timing. Sometimes we just have to let go of blame or trying to find a reason for something happening. Your situation is unique, so it’s up to you to find a unique solution. Don’t always think about what your spouse or children or boss could do for you to have a better financial situation – just chose something YOU can do, and do it to your best ability. Be thankful for what you do have, and then be surprised at how that manifests more in your life.

One more thing you may have noticed about the best players in the world. They don’t ask their coach to take them out of the game because it’s too hard, or they are too tired. They relish the responsibility to win those games. The best players WANT to take the game-winning shot. It’s not that they don’t trust their teammates – they just trust themselves more. Trust yourself and step up to the free throw line. Believe in yourself and get excited for your ability to make real change in your life.  Be an example to those around you so they believe in themselves, as well.  You got this – go do it.

“Let others lead small lives, but not you.  Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.  Let others argue over small things, but not you.  Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.” Jim Rohn

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