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OPINION: The Joy We Make

Back in high school I had a coach whose mantra was, "attitude is everything."

I applied these words to workouts, to training, to competition, and I focused on being positive and working hard.

Even then it was obvious that a tough practice was even tougher if I didn't want to be there and didn't have my head focused on the moment and find enjoyment in the drills at hand.

I survived many difficult practices by the discipline it took to adjust my perspective, let go of negativity or outside influences, and have a good attitude about what I was doing and why I was there.

Naturally, we cannot expect to be happy at all times as the tides of life prevent that. But when we have those moments when we know we shouldn't be unhappy, sometimes it just takes a simple reason not to be. Far outside the realm of high school athletics or eating vegetables, our attitudes mold our world around us.

Not surprisingly, as I look back, I don't remember any of those insurmountable drills or bad days; I was able to achieve my best results, and had a lot of fun with friends around me and a great experience along the way. Would I feel the same had I not been able to rise above potentially "miserable" drills and practice schedules? Coaches, teachers, and parents all drilled these quotes and passages into our heads when we were young, and I think they still have great relevance in our lives long after growing up.

To this day my mom tells me, "happiness is a choice you make," and no doubt most parents have a variation on the theme. If that were not enough, even our forefathers agreed. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be," and the enlightened Ben Franklin before him is noted as saying, "the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."

Given the triumvirate of my mom, Abe, and Ben, I figured who am I to argue? Well there is one thing I can argue, that as simple and eloquent as each of these quotes may be, the application of this philosophy is actually very demanding.

Anytime we find ourselves in a difficult situation or having a tough day, it is far easier to give in and accept it, and at times that is perfectly okay. But when it is something that we feel in our hearts we must overcome, it's then that we need to have developed some personal tools to overcome our troubles. How many times were we told, "eat your vegetables, there are starving children in the world."

I can't speak for anyone else, but to me thinking of starving children doesn't really make me feel any better about my veggies! Yet somehow, we all find a way to stomach them, and I wouldn't doubt it's the reward of something better afterwards if you eat your greens. Playing outside, eating ice cream, whatever it may have been, these are the little things that made the broccoli edible. Sometimes all it takes is the joy or thought of something else to outweigh the unhappiness of the current situation.

Naturally, we cannot expect to be happy at all times as the tides of life prevent that. But when we have those moments when we know we shouldn't be unhappy, sometimes it just takes a simple reason not to be. Far outside the realm of high school athletics or eating vegetables, our attitudes mold our world around us.

So when we are feeling down, can't focus or feel the stress of a work day, it never hurt to remember the things that bring us happiness and the life that we enjoy well beyond the task at hand.

Adapted from an Opinion by Will Clement as submitted to www.thecoolgroup.org

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Dumb Foot

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Here is one you can try right now:

And you can keep trying it to see if you can outsmart your foot. But you can't.

1. While sitting, lift your RIGHT foot off the floor and make CLOCKWISE circles with it. It's easy. Clockwise.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" from TOP to BOTTOM in the AIR with your RIGHT hand.

It sounds easy but...

your foot will change direction!

And there is nothing you can do about it.

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