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“It’s abilities, not disabilities, that count.” – Peter Drucker

No one is perfect. We all have strengths—things we excel at—and weaknesses—things that are lacking and in need of improvement. When we focus on our weaknesses, it can make us feel inferior, insecure, and even paralyze us from taking action. But when we focus on our strengths, it empowers us, allows us to move forward confidently, and even enables us to achieve great things.

Do you dwell on your weaknesses and deficiencies OR try to focus on your strengths and abilities?

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Every one of us is unique and endowed with individual talents and gifts. And while we may be tempted to show off our prowess and seek kudos from those around us, cultivating humility and generosity may bring us even more lasting satisfaction. As author and speaker Leo Buscaglia said: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

How do you relate to others? Do you try to establish your superiority OR do you try to make others feel good?

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“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” – George Bernard Shaw

In his memoir Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Mandela writes: “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

How do you approach adversity? Are you more of a pessimist OR do you try to be hopeful and optimistic in challenging situations?

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“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia

Contrary to what the Rolling Stones sang, time is not on our side. It is precious, fleeting, and the amount of it we have is unknown. So spending more time than necessary worrying about things we can’t control is truly a waste of time. If action is required, then take it. But try not to worry needlessly. As Mark Twain said: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Rather than worrying needlessly, how can you move on to more useful pursuits?

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“The question ‘to be or not to be’ is the question ‘to think or not to think.’” – Ayn Rand

Think ahead. Think big. Think outside the box. Think it over. Think it through. Think before doing. As humans, it is thought and reason, rather than instinct, that guide us to a life lived well. To think for yourself enables you to choose the life you want, rather than simply be a passive participant in someone else’s life.

Do not avoid the effort of thinking. Why not take the time now and in the future to focus and think?