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Own your own survivorship

Survivorship is just like playing a game of chess. You think about all of your pieces on the board. Each one of these pieces can move in different ways and can affect your upcoming moves. You should always think at least five steps ahead of where you are going. This requires brainpower and a complex approach to decision making.

Just as in chess, you have to be careful with where you move, consider your opponent (or risk) from all angles, make your decision and then make your move. This forces you to think about yourself and your surroundings. This makes you run scenarios in your head in order to arrive at the best possible outcome.

Success is not easy. There is no exact path to success. It can be achieved in multiple different ways. The more you practice, though, the better you get at overcoming obstacles. Keep in mind that if you never try, you will never experience success.

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The pain is always there, but suffering is a choice

It is not the obstacle, or trial, or tribulation, or hardship, or setback, or challenge that determines your character. It’s how you handle it — and move forward — that determines your character.

It’s not always easy. No matter who you are, where you go or what you do, you will be faced with adversity at some juncture. You are only as good as the amount of adversity that you can handle.

Just keep in mind, that the pain is always there, but suffering is a choice.

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Live in the truth.

Live in the truth. I cannot stress this enough. Many people get stuck between a rock and a hard place and feel like they need to lie to get out of it. Sometimes it works, but it is very risky. When you live in deceit, you risk relationships and trust.

Integrity is doing what you say you will do, and doing what is right, even if that means sacrifice. The point of having integrity is building trust. Trust is a must. You must live in the truth — every day.

Lack of integrity can be detrimental to your reputation. Your good name is everything. Lack of integrity also can make you doubt yourself. If you do what you know is wrong, then you will become upset with yourself and start to believe lies. You need to look within and find your peace with the situation, even if it isn’t the easiest thing to do. Follow what is good. You know what is right in your heart of hearts.

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The mind, body and spirit can sharpen or fade. You need to cherish and honor all three.

There is a strong connection between being balanced and being healthy. In other words, having a good quality of life and being healthy are one in the same. It is the wellspring to living a purposeful life. The greatest wealth is health. It is a priceless possession, so take good care of it. It is an all-encompassing ability that enables you to achieve further abilities. Health embraces the mind, body and spirit. The mind, body and spirit can sharpen or fade. You need to cherish and honor all three. They each can impact the others.

We are imperfect beings. Illness can happen because of what we do and because of what happens to us. You need to do everything and anything you can to stay healthy, prevent illness and continually heal. That can mean eating right, praying, meditating, exercising, laughing, avoiding drugs, reading, being happy, feeling peace, brushing your gums, cleaning out your belly button, you name it. Unhealthy habits will catchup to you and you will regret it. They will prohibit your ability to succeed in one way, shape, form or another. Don’t become enslaved and addicted to injurious behaviors that prohibit your freedom. It is also important to live in moderation; too much of one thing could be detrimental to your purpose.

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Just as reproduction is the key to life, so is re-creation to success.

Remarkably, there is only one thing that is actually more rewarding than the reward itself — and that’s giving back. Just as reproduction is the key to life, so is re-creation to success. Imagine yourself as an apple tree. When you start your journey you plant your seed. Overtime, as you grow, your roots spread and you built your groundwork. You find your nutrients and eventually you sprout with substance. You grow more, experience your environment and when the season was right, you begin to bloom. Eventually, you produce fruit. These fruits and blessings give you the ability of mission and purpose from which the world (and also you) can benefit from.

There are many different types of trees and many different types of fruits. Different trees offer different blessings. Every one is unique. Gifts are wonderful. Gifts are positive. They are recognized by peace, happiness, growth, patience, kindness, gentleness and love. So, I ask you, what fruit do you bear and how are you identified by it? How do you contribute value to the world? How can you (and do you) give back? Just because you nail an apple to a fencepost, doesn’t mean that it is a fruit tree. Even though it meets the requirements of wood in the ground and it is holding up fruit, it is missing one important thing — the ability to reproduce. The continuance of giving is necessary to your growth and your growth is necessary to your giving.

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You are an amazing, incredible creation that has gifts, that has abilities.

You are an amazing, incredible creation that has gifts, that has abilities. It is your birthright to find your gifts, your abilities — and use them. Therefore, give the gift of giving.

Giving is the secret to continuing success and achieving what you and others want. Imagine yourself as the earth’s water supply. Realize how it cycles. There are underground aquifers that feed creeks, which flow into rivers, which along the way create ponds and lakes, and ultimately run into the ocean. On its way there, the water evaporates and creates rain and snow, and it supplies all of the creatures of creation with a necessary ingredient, or gift, to live: water. The trees, the plants, the animals, the insects — they all use this gift and have their purpose, too. Every living creature gives back in its own unique way. Buffalo will till the ground so that it is aerated. Bees will spread pollen from flower to flower. Plants will create oxygen. You get the point. The cycle recycles. So, what life do you support? How do you flow to others?

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Faith, Hope and Love

Of all the abilities mentioned in this book, none reach the echelon of faith, hope and love. They are intertwined in everything you do and they are the energy for all abilities. Faith and hope have propelled you to where you are. Love is the reason why you did it.

Faith, hope and love are the beginning and the end. With them you have purpose. Without them you never would have had the desire or the vision in the first place. You wouldn’t have acted on your dream. You never would’ve changed. You would’ve been stagnant. You never would have had to manage your risk because you never would’ve had the audacity to take the risk. At no time would you have earned anything because there would be nothing worth earning.

Needless to say, you never would have overcome adversity or learned the value of integrity. You never would have acquired and managed resources to reach your goal. Your portfolio would not be as diversified. You never would have comprehended the meaning of ethics or learned to communicate effectively. You never would have grown from failure. You wouldn’t understand the difference between law, grace and mercy. You wouldn’t have aimed for improvement or excellence. You wouldn’t have anything to balance. What reward would you have? What could you give back? There would be a slight impact, but no legacy. In other words, what have you if you have not faith, hope and love? They are the root and the fruit.

Faith: Faith is trust. Faith is ability to believe in what is yet to be manifested. It is the moment of opportunity when you make a decision to follow your desire. Faith is knowing anything can be done. Miracles happen when faith is apparent and faith is confirmed by the miracles. It is the belief that helps you take the first step and gives you the ability to figure it out along the way. Belief is more powerful than technical aptitude. If you believe you can do something, it is achievable. Faith will give you the belief, belief will give you the ability to try and trying will help you solve the technicalities.

Hope: Hope is holding onto positive expectations. It is knowing that there is something better. It is assurance. It is the overcoming of fear and all resistance. It is encouragement. It is strengthening. It is the moment when you are dealing with uncertainty but continue to fight the battle. It is the foundation of the mission and the purpose. It is the seeking of the end goal. It is the ability to see there is light even through all the darkness.  Hope is like a connection of tunnels that lead to the opening of a new world, a new reality.

Love: Love, over everything else is the greatest and ultimate ability. Love is the common denominator and the underlying universal truth. Love is giving yourself to others and accepting them for who they are. Love is the most profound word in our common language. Love itself can be a language. Love is giving. Love is charity. Love is creation. Love does not judge. Love does not hide. Love sustains. Love provides. Love is empathy. Love is caring. Love is the best intentions. Love is happiness. Love is compassion. Love is sacrifice for the greater good. Love is purity. Love is everything that is good.

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What Do You Want To Be?

Children are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And with all that imagination, they reply, “A doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.”

“What do you want to be?” a boy asked a man. The man chuckled and replied with an open heart, “A child again. To dream the dreams of childhood. To see the visions of far shores and trees, for I am a man with a dream fulfilled, and I am not complete. I’ve sung the songs, I’ve played the tunes. My heart has felt the beat. I felt the flutter of a butterfly wing against my summer cheek. If now I am asked ‘what will you be?’ I will be it all. I will climb more mountains and cross more creeks. My hands will touch the sky. I will sing, I will build, I will share my love, all before I die.

So, if now I am asked ‘what will you be?’ I will be it all. More dreams to fill, for I am not complete. You see, boy, I had a nightmare I died last night, early morn. I’m really torn. We hit the ground, then heard a splash, it was all over in an instant flash. My heart was bleeding, my pulse felt faint. Hard time breathing, happy I ain’t. What does this mean, this saddened dream? It means we must start living, we must daydream. Now I am spending the day, happy, and in peace. My first day of living, my first day of living this life on a lease. Borrowed time is what I have left now, so I will make a difference, God make me see how. How to live, how to love, how to be a better me. How to share, how to laugh, how to show the world how to see. I want to live a life healthy, pure and strong, I want to live this life, healthy, pure and long. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life,’ a wise man once preached. That day is today, that day I have reached.

So, God, color my world with a dream of strength, with a vision to see the farthest of length. Strengthen my hands, my courage as well. Don’t be a jailer and lock me in a cell. I’m striving to stretch, I gave up my shy. Now I can see where eagles do fly. If I am to die while climbing this task, I did it the best; God told me, I asked. He said, ‘I will be your guiding light. Don’t hunt after trouble, but look for success! You’ll find what you look for, don’t look for distress. If you see but your shadow, remember this and pray. The sun is still shining, but you’re in the way. Don’t grumble, don’t bluster, don’t gripe, don’t shirk. I will take care of you, just think of your work. The worries will vanish, the work will be done, for no man sees his shadow who faces the sun.’”

— Shana Sue Green, my beautiful mother

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Realizing Success

Whatever you want, wants you! So, what do you really want, really? Where do you want to end up? Which door will you take? What abilities do you need to achieve success?

Success, in its fundamental construct, is simple. It is really just getting what you want. In other words, successful people use their abilities to get what they want.

Everybody has their own story, their own journey, and their own abilities. The problem is that many people don’t really know what they want. Of those people who do know what they want, many don’t know why they want it or how to get it — or even believe they can have it.

The Abilities reveals the secrets, step-by-step instructions, lessons and best-practices you will need throughout your personal journey of success.

The Abilities will help you realize your abilities to achieve success, from desire to legacy.

Use it to the best of your abilities.

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  • J . Reese Lasley