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Superstitions are irrational beliefs – beliefs that are held in spite of evidence to the contrary. Do you carry the daily burden of irrational beliefs and/or earlier life transgressions that work to sabotage your good efforts and attitude? Are you going through difficult times with family members in rehab or with you personally with your addictions, diseases and problems?

In my own life I have seen (and participated in) failed relationships, drug addiction and errant business ventures. When these things happen, it is easy to let these “failures” weigh heavily upon your shoulders. Some go so far as to willingly offer up these “lapses” as ammunition to provide to others so that we can justify our failure when these “lapses” are brought to bear against us.

It is truly an irrational belief to believe that if you have a checkered past, then you are not allowed to have a future. Discounting the most egregious of circumstances, we all have the ability to change for the better. We can all overcome adversity at various levels – and who doesn’t appreciate the underdog?

I am reminded of an interview I saw once on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning, wherein the host, Don Imus, was interviewing the celebrated New Orleans musician Aaron Neville. Imus asked Neville if his criminal background ever presented problems for him. Neville humbly responded (noting that he was not proud of what had happened in the past), that everything that had happened to him in the past was a part of what had made him who he is today. In a society that looks to blame others and create excuses for failure, how many of us are willing to be so honest and candid?

None of us are 100% happy with our past. Likewise, there are things that will inevitably happen (despite our best efforts to the contrary) that will make you feel like curling up in a corner of your home and never coming out again. How you choose to react when that happens is up to you and up to you alone. Take for yourself my new favorite motto:

My attitude is not about what is happening to me but rather how I choose to respond to what is happening.

Maturity teaches us that we need a past on which to base our future actions… The past cannot be ignored, but it does not necessarily need to weigh upon you like the proverbial albatross. If it is your desire to carry the albatross, then there is little doubt that your life will become a self-fulfilling prophecy of disappointment.

But, have you ever considered that your past will be someone else’s future salvation? Your ability to overcome can be the roadmap for co-workers, friends and family to realize that life goes on and that you alone choose your attitude.

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Deborah L. Copeland, whose home base is Charleston, West Virginia, is a successful entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and author of the best-selling book, Attitude Therapy. Her greatest joy, however, comes not from her business successes but from her maternal role in a blended "his, hers, ours and theirs" family of eight— including three youngsters adopted from abroad. She also takes pride in her strong and abiding faith and "personal relationship with the Lord," which, as she details in her book and in her keynote talks, has seen her through many of life's most challenging trials and tribulations.

As a speaker and seminar leader, Deborah Copeland's compelling messages continue to draw audiences throughout the United States. The most requested courses, "Got 'Tude?" (I.e. Got Attitude) and "Emotional Intelligence," enable corporations to get better results from their employees while maintaining and promoting their physical and mental well-being. The basic message of her motivational speeches and seminars is that there is a direct connection between our emotional and physical health, and that how successful we are in life directly relates to our capacity for talking to ourselves in an encouraging rather than demeaning way: in other words, with positive rather than negative self-talk.

With multiple "starring roles" that encompass wife and mother, survivor, educator, entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, life coach, community activist and religious group leader, Deb Copeland has her hands—and heart – full. And, she says, she wouldn't have it any other way. Although there admits there are days she has doubted her abilities, she remains steadfast in her conviction that "The Lord never gives you more than you can handle."

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. This outlook is so true – our past need not define our today or tomorrows. It is a part of who we are, that can’t be changed. We can use it to help ourselves and be a guide for others.

  2. So well said, Deb! I think most of us do that, at least now and then! I especially love “It is truly an irrational belief to believe that if you have a checkered past, then you are not allowed to have a future.” That puts it into perspective!

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