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“…there is nothing either good or bad but

thinking makes it so.” Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2, William Shakespeare

A wave of peace flowed over the young

man. The mere presence of the old man and his simple acceptance of his foul outburst caused the dark cloud that had shadowed him to evaporate instantaneously. “I’m sorry”, the young man started again, “there was a harmonica player at the café who ” The old man chuckled, “Don’t blame

anyone unless you want to be the victim. Do you want to be a victim?” he asked rhetorically, “Of course not!”. He chuckled louder amused by his own observation. “Life goes in cycles. Some days are good,

some days are bad, some times are hard, some times are easy, it’s not linear, it’s not predictable – otherwise it would be boring!”, he laughed again, “What good would it be if life were predictable? How would you grow if you had no challenges in your life?” The emotion welled up again in the young man, “Yes I know, I know, but I’ve been

having a bad day! I didn’t sleep well and then the stupid beggar…” The old man cut him off, his levity had

vanished replaced by a tone as sharp as a razor, “But is that how you want to be?” “It’s the best I can do!”, the young man replied. “Is it?”, the old man asked sharply. The two glared at each other, like an old

and a young bull. At any moment it seemed the young man’s emotions would get the better of him but at the same time the intensity of the old man’s stare – his pure will – held the situation in check. “Is it really?”, he asked again. “Is it really

the best you can do? We are limited only by our beliefs. If you believe that’s your best then it will be. So tell me again – is it really the best you can do?” Time froze as the emotion swirled about

them. Slowly the energy dissipated and the young man broke from the old man’s glare. He hung his head in shame. “No”, he finally admitted. “Good, good, good”, the old man clapped

his hands, “First step accomplished! Now next step – stop beating yourself up!

Lift your head up high! Accept your failures and choose to love and accept yourself unconditionally. Take responsibility for your actions and do something about it!” The breath flowed back into the young man. He straightened up, stood tall and

looked directly into the old man’s eyes. “I’m sorry, please forgive me” The old man hugged him, and as he

did he chuckled again, “It doesn’t take much to push you over the edge does it? Instead of reacting, use these things to strengthen your will. They are sent to us for a reason – they are sent to test us. Seize the opportunity. The easy way is to react and to make excuses for why you aren’t being who you really want to be. It’s not your fault, you didn’t get enough sleep, you had a bad childhood, you deserve it, they deserve it, it’s not hurting anyone, everyone else is doing it so you have no choice, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…” These are just words! Real growth, real

life, comes when you stop making excuses and ask instead – what do I really want? and how do I need to be to have that? When you get to that point, then you have

the opportunity to claim your freedom by choosing how you want to be.” n

A.C. Ping is a reformed futures trader and ‘greed is good’ capitalist who now runs leadership and self-mastery programs for people who wish to change the world. His books ‘BE’,

‘DO’ and ‘FAITH’ have been translated into 11 languages and are published around the world.

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