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Life is tough. Life throws adversity at you. You face adversity in your job, with your family, with your health and everywhere else you look. Adversity in life is a test and is given to you to make you stronger. You can’t control what life throws at you but you can control your attitude.

A good friend who had not seen me at a fishing tournament before came to the first day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open last year on Douglas Lake. He found me parked in one of the marina boat slips. I had a big smile on my face and was joking around with the other competitors including my buddy Gerald Swindle. We were all glad to be back at the dock swapping stories. My friend saw me grinning and said “You must have really caught them today!”

I held my arm up in the air – which is kind of a little joke. My arm is good for a lot of things, and I am beyond thankful to have it but it is not good for counting very high. He laughed and said “You caught one?”

“Goose egg,” I said. He shook his head in disbelief.

The fact that I zeroed didn’t surprise him – it happens. The fact that he couldn’t tell if I was the hero or the zero was what impacted him. That day was one of the top 3 most brutal days on the water in my life. Ask anyone else that fished it. It was forecasted to be a fairly cool, overcast, and drizzly spring day. Instead, it was cold, rainy and windy all day – the whole day. It never let up. We were all caught by surprise, and it got the best of the field. Lots of guys even came in early.

I call that an attitude day. In the long run, the man or woman who stays positive is going to be a champion. Thomas Jefferson said “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” He was right about that.

Now, back to my buddy Swindle. When you see Swindle on stage and he starts going on and on about how tough the fishing was, all the lures he threw in vain, and all the ways he wanted to inflict pain on himself, you might think he has a bad attitude. That’s simply not the case. Gerald goes on his rants because the fans like them. My wife, Kim, thinks it is hilarious. Because of this humor, Swindle is the best on stage at a fishing weigh-in, hands down. Fishermen can relate to what he’s saying and he’s extremely quick-witted. He’s a champion because he controls his attitude. (Check out this video of Swindle and I fishing together.)

So, with no keepers and freezing cold all day, you would have thought it was a miserable day. It really wasn’t. I had a strategy in mind to catch some good fish but wasn’t able to adjust to the right pattern. I never let negative thoughts enter my mind that day or any day. In the end I was a champion that day because of my attitude.

It helps if you surround yourself with other positive people, too. At best, half the people you meet in life are positive. Choose who you keep close to you wisely.

Your mind is your most powerful tool and you have the God-given ability to control it – every day. It is your choice. As Chuck Swindoll said, “The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”

Choose a positive attitude today!

Next month, we will talk about the M in D.R.E.A.M.

Remember – If I can, you can. God bless.

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