We all have our challenges in life. Some of those challenges we make for ourselves, while some are what we inherit. Looking back, I realize that in my early years I was too focused on what I didn't have and what I thought I should have had. As I became more aware of myself and my surroundings, I could see that it's not so much about what you have; it's more important what you do with it. Life is a little like poker—we don't pick the cards; we can only do our best with the hand we're dealt. And be grateful that we even get to play the game!

Throughout college and in my first few jobs, I noticed a negativity that many of us seemed to have about going to school and work. People, including myself, acted as if they were trapped and had no choice. It was crazy how miserable we made ourselves with our own thoughts and beliefs! I could remember that when I was very young, I was positive and happy, always looking for the best in other people. But somewhere along the way, I became cynical and sarcastic, because it seemed like that's what you had to do to connect with others, and survive emotionally. Pretty soon this became the norm and it felt familiar and comfortable.

It was a college professor who first opened my mind to the power of my thoughts and beliefs. I was taking evening classes as I worked full time. Being a single mom, Dr. Thomas Mwanika in the Communications Department allowed me to bring my 7-year-old daughter to class with me from time to time. It was probably a ...

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