Life is about constant, predictable patterns of change, and the only constant factor will be our feelings and attitudes toward life. We as human beings have the power of attitude and that attitude determines choice, and choice determines results. All that we are and all that we can become has indeed been left to us to decide and interpret through our attitude and choices.
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Life is like the changing seasons—you cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself. So the first major lesson in life to learn is how to handle the winters. They come regularly, right after autumn. Some are long, some are short, some are difficult, some are easy, but they always come right after autumn. That is never going to change.
There are all kinds of winters: the “winter” when you can’t figure it out, the “winter” when everything seems to go awry. There are economic winters, social winters and personal winters.
Wintertime can bring disappointment, and disappointment is common to all of us. So you must learn how to handle the winters. You must learn how to handle difficulty; it always comes after opportunity. That is never going to change.
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The big question is what to do about winters. You can’t get rid of January simply by tearing it off the calendar. But here is what you can do: You can get stronger; you can get wiser; you can get better. Remember that trio of words: stronger, wiser, better. The winters won’t change, but you can.
Before I understood this, I used to wish for summer when it was winter. When things were difficult, I wished they were easy. I didn’t know any better. Then my mentor Earl Shoaff gave me the answer from a part of his unique philosophy when he said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”