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Character and wisdom are sculpted over time. They come with loss, lessons, and triumphs. They come after doubts, second guesses, and exploring unknowns. If there were a definitive path to happiness and success, everyone would be on it. The seeds of your progress are planted in your past failures.

Your best stories will come from overcoming your greatest struggles. Your praises will be birthed from your pains. So keep standing, keep learning, and keep living.

So my challenge to you today is this: Start looking at life’s harsh realities and toughest challenges as friends that are going to help you grow.

 Here are some thoughts to consider…

1. The first step is never easy- The beginnings to good things are always the hardest, but it’s these hard times that pave the path to greatness. Be strong and keep the faith. It will be worth it in the end. The greatest miracle of your success in life will not be that you finished, it will be that you found the strength and courage to begin.

 2. Good things rarely come quick and easy – Life is not easy, but it’s worth it. If you expect it to be, you will perpetually disappoint yourself. Achieving anything worthwhile in life takes time and effort. You must align your efforts with your goals and then start every day ready to run farther than you did yesterday and fight harder than you ever have before.

 Persistence is the single most common characteristic of high achievers. They simply refuse to give up. The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor.

 3. You will always have less control than you desire – The only thing you can absolutely control in life is how you react to things out of your control, and there’s a lot you can’t control. The better you adapt to this reality, the more powerful your highs will be, and the more quickly you’ll be able to bounce back from the lows. Put most simply: Living a happy, fulfilling life means being in a state of complete acceptance of all that is, right here, right now.

 4. You cannot avoid risk without avoiding life – Living is a risk. Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared sometimes, then you’re not doing it right. Don’t worry about mistakes and failures, worry about what you’re giving up when you don’t even try. Worry about the life you’re not living and the happiness you’re foregoing, as you merely exist in the safety of your comfort zone. Give yourself permission to be one of the people who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them and grew into your truest self.

 5. Your biggest problems are often in your head – The primary cause of unhappiness and defeat is never the current situation but your thoughts about it. Happiness and success really comes down to two elements: the way you think and the way you act based upon your thoughts.

 When you believe in yourself, you have realized the first secret of success. Often finding your way is not about going somewhere new; it’s about seeing familiar ground in new ways. Once you do, you will realize the only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them. I hope this helps you grow and succeed in whatever endeavor(s) you engage in.

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