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If Only

If only I could catch a break. If only my Father hadn't treated me the way he had. If only someone would discover me. If only I hadn't said that. If only I could save more money. If only I could stop smoking. If only I wasn't in debt. If only my family understood me better.

My life is full of if only's, what about yours?
Our if only's hold hands with us each day, and haunt us through the night. They temper every decision we make. If only's fill us with self-pity and dissatisfaction. And worst of all they make us blind to the truth. They completely mislead us and give us permission to justify our own nonperformance, and our lack of progression. Ultimately they stop us from living our life through to its full promise.

We use if only whenever we find an easy excuse. If only the economy wasn't so bad. If only the radio station had a different format. If only the business people in this market were like the ones everywhere else. If we feel it saves face we will ever so quickly and quietly shift blame and responsibility onto the shoulders of any third party that passes our way, be it a person, a place, or a thing.

If only keeps us absent from the game - from living our life. If only I was smarter. If only I was braver. If only I had passed that exam. If only. If only. If only.

If you want to live a life fulfilled. If you want to never say if only again, then stop making excuses, start taking responsibility, and start taking action.

The next time you start saying if only I had, or if only I hadn't. The next time you begin to procrastinate and make excuses for your life, recall the legacy left by Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was perhaps one of the greatest leaders the world has known, yet we can learn more from his life than just the obvious successes.

The first notable characteristic on the list of Lincoln's achievements was his formidable level of persistence. If you have read about Lincoln you will have discovered that his life was far from full of highlights. He failed in business at age twenty-one; was defeated in a governmental election the very next year; and was entirely unsuccessful again in business at the age of twenty-four. He overcame the death of a woman he loved dearly two years later; had a nervous breakdown at the age of twenty-seven; and lost sequential congressional races at thirty-four and thirty-six years of age. At forty-five he lost a Senatorial election; and failed in his effort to become Vice President at the age of forty-seven. Lincoln lost another senatorial effort at age forty-nine; and then was elected President of the United States at the age of fifty-two. Once he was elected President he faced the enormous challenge of a nation at war with itself - and the rest, as they say, is history.

The life of Abraham Lincoln shows us what is possible, or that what is sometimes deemed impossible (even in the face of incessant adversity) can be achieved through persistence.

Lincoln's life demonstrates that there is no such thing as failure, and that we can surpass many odds just by continuing to continue. And this is the promise of God isn't it?

Do the work, and walk the walk, and the rest will be taken care of.

What would our world be like today if Abraham Lincoln had simply stopped at the age of twenty-seven and said, "If only I hadn't had a nervous breakdown"?

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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