Forty Years Young

Today, people tell me, life is about to begin.

For today I celebrate enjoying (and surviving) 40 years of life.

Statistically, the pessimist would tell me that half of my life is over. However, the optimist in me knows that I can pack much more in to the next four decades than the previous four.

Given the two choices, I have decided to be an optimist. Not just today but for every day of the next 40 years.

And why shouldn’t I be?

Looking back over life thus far, I recognise that every transgression, every failure and every obstacle has been overcome and led to something better. The cumulative days of worry and concern afforded to each of them have been shown to be a waste of time.

The pessimist might argue that on occasions things just didn’t go as badly as they might have. I have decided that the pessimists are wrong.

Life itself is built around optimism and hope.

From the moment of birth we continue to strive for greater achievement.

Instinctively we know our repeated failures are placing us one step closer to achieving our goals. Our minds are programmed to be successful, with the only limits being those imposed by ourselves.

In only 40 years I have learned to walk, to talk and to ride a bike. I can use cutlery, write a letter and give a speech. I have built a business, become a husband and raised a family. I have been elected, promoted, demoted, vilified and praised.

None of these things were easy to learn or experience or do, yet all have been achieved; not through worry, but through self-belief, persistence and patience.

Of course, there are times when it seems nigh impossible to get better at a particular skill or achieve a particular goal. This is where our self-imposed barriers need to be overcome from within. Our lives abound with examples of conquering such adversity.

As a young man blessed with few sporting skills and little confidence in my ability, I continued to strive to represent my country on the sporting field. Despite the naysayers, this dream came true and changed my life immeasurably.

In seeking to become President of the South Australian Liberal Party aged only 28, I faced a formidable public campaign of opposition. Despite the organised forces against me, through hard work and determination I helped to restore the finances and capacity of the organisation as its President.

When confronted with a debilitating illness, the experience led me to fall in love with my best friend who is now my wife. After 13 years of marriage, our love is stronger than ever. Together we have brought two wonderful children into the world and our thoughts are of the unlimited potential they have to achieve their every dream.

The challenge for my wife and I is to imbue our sons with the optimists’ view of life that every adversity can be conquered or lead to something better.

It’s a challenge that might also apply to all of us. At any stage of our lives, it is easy to feel defeated or discouraged. We can choose to accept things as they are or we can fight for the future we want.

That choice belongs to all of us.

And so today, I have made a simple choice.

I will forever banish the voice of negativity that lives within. Every setback from here on will simply be regarded as divine guidance placing me back on the correct path.

And where that path leads will be entirely up to me. Just as the attitude you choose and the path you take is entirely up to you.

Have a great day. I know I will.

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