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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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Hello everyone. We are talking about the acronym D.R.E.A.M. as we continue this monthly blog. Today we are on the letter E, which stands for Effort. Show up and give it your best.

How do I explain Effort to you in 500 words when it would be easier to show you in person? Maybe you could watch a video of me fishing or going through my daily routines. I try and put quality content on my Facebook page to encourage people to make an Effort and you could look at that. But if I just did that I wouldn’t be making my best Effort with this blog platform that was given to me. See where I am going with this? I give everything 100% Effort.

Every opportunity to give my best is an opportunity to live my D.R.E.A.M. You get opportunities to give your best, too. The first step is recognizing those opportunities. Identify something in your life that really “takes it out of you.” Maybe it is a small task, a person, a daily piece of drudgery that you dread having to deal with. Start there.

Now give that one thing your best Effort. Do that one small thing better than you ever have before. Look for ways to absolutely wow people with the intensity you put into it. Make it a challenge. Here’s an example.

How many of you enjoy changing out treble hooks? I think my friend Kevin VanDam actually enjoys switching hooks on his Strike King crankbaits but, for most, it is a chore. I used to see it as a mountain of a chore to be avoided or delegated at all costs! If you want to put yourself in my shoes, lay out a crankbait, put a pair of pliers in your mouth and bend your right elbow. Now using the pliers and your elbow take an old treble hook off a split-ring and put a fresh one back on – without permanently maiming yourself or losing a pint of blood. You’ll want to wear safety goggles. You might want to try it without kids around because it will drive even a preacher to strong language.

I still remember sitting in my boat with hooks; stuck in my arm, in my face, popping out of the pliers, lying all over the place – everywhere but back on the split ring. Did I give up? No. Did it happen overnight? No, but finally after years of practice I am proficient.  And every time I sling a big 6XD toward a ledge, I get a little confidence boost knowing I conquered the challenge and the Effort it took.

Show up and give it your best. Tackle that one thing that wears on you with renewed enthusiasm this week and let me know how it goes for you.

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

Remember – If I can, you can. God bless