A man was honored as his city’s leading citizen to tell the story of his life, he said, “Friends and neighbors, when I first came here 30 years ago, I walked into your town on a muddy dirt road with only the suit on my back, the shoes on my feet, and all of my earthly possessions wrapped up in a red bandana tied to a stick which I carried over my shoulder.

Today I’m the chairman of the board of the bank. I own hotels, apartment buildings, office buildings, and three companies with branches in 49 cities, and I am on the boards of all the leading clubs. Yes, friends, your city has been very good to me”

At the end of the banquet, a youngster approached the man and asked him, “Sir, could you tell me what you wrapped in that red bandana when you walked into this town 30 years ago?” The man replied, “I think son, it was about a half million dollars in cash and $900, 000 in government bonds”

If you want to make it successfully through the course of your destiny you must travel light. What’s in your “red bandana”? Are you carrying liabilities in your red bandana or are you carrying assets? What you carry along during life’s journey will determine what you will attract along life’s journey.  To carry along with liabilities implies carrying a bad or negative attitude which is heavy baggage that weighs down and retrogresses. However, to carry along assets implies cultivating and developing positive attitudes that accelerate and deliver progress in our lives.



You can either blame your past or create your future. You can either relive your history or live out your destiny. You can either groan in your circumstance or you can grow through your circumstance. You can either function from your memories or you can function from the uncharted and unlimited horizon of your imagination. You can either rely on your experiences or you can seek out, learn, model, and apply success principles that create successful experiences in the important areas of life while learning from the mistakes of others rather than criticizing, condemning, or judging them.

You can either be value-driven or you can be driven by feelings. You can either guard your heart or you can allow your mind to become an open field for all sorts of suggestions or garbage from external sources. You can either become an original or you can be an imitator. You can either live for yourself or you can live beyond yourself. You can both define and establish boundaries in your life or you can allow anybody to come into your life and mess up your life through their negative influence.

You can either persist to succeed or resist success. You can either give up or grow up. You can either respond to situations or react to situations. You can either break the bad habit or the bad habit break down your destiny. You can either live out your fears or you can live out your dreams. You can either pursue pleasure or you can pursue self-development.

You can either live life with sensitivity, discernment, and understanding or you can live thoughtlessly, superficially, and by appearances. You can either live generously or you can live selfishly. You can either tame your tongue or you can allow your tongue to tarnish your destiny.

 You can rule your temper or allow your temper to rule you out of the success domain. You can either make your mind work for you or you can make your mind work against you. You can either think big or you can think small. You can either create value or you can create excuses.

To sum it up you alone determine the outcome of your destiny through the choices you make in life.


If I had money…; if I could get a job…; if I had a good education…; if I had been born rich…; if my family understood me…; if I were younger…; if my talents were known…; if I hadn’t lost my money…; if I only had someone to help me…; if the boss only appreciated me…; if condition around me were so different…; if other people understood me…; if I could live my life over again…; if I hadn’t failed…; if I had been given a chance…; if I could marry the right person…; if I didn’t have a past…; if I could meet the right people…; if I only knew how…; and the voice trails off into silence.

Success responds to the individual who uses whatever tools life has handed over to him or her. Life always hands over to us something worthwhile that can make a difference in our lives. Life can never leave you with nothing. The problem lies when we do not recognize or we minimize the value of what life gives to us.

Most of us rather than focusing on what life has given to us, we focus on what we do not seem to have and we discard what we have. When we focus on what we can change, we gain control over our destinies and stand a chance of influencing what we do not have control over.

But when we focus on what we do not have control over, we lose our ability to effect a change and we become helpless in gaining control over our lives. As a result, we come up with a lot of “ifs” to excuse or abdicate us from responsibility. Excuses make a failure out of men but a commitment to succeed makes a champion out of men.


The road less traveled is the road of taking absolute responsibility for the outcome of our destiny. The road frequently traveled is the road with the inscription which says, “I am not responsible; it’s the problems in the environment; it’s the weaknesses of other people; it’s the circumstances over which I have no control. Therefore, it’s not my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it except there’s an external change I can’t take action”.

You cannot control or undo the past but you can shape your future and maximize the present; you cannot control people’s behavior toward you but you can control your behavior towards them; you may not control the economic policies in the country but you can create and manage your financial resources effectively; you cannot control the situational realities in your path but you can control your response on how to handle them; you can’t control people’s feelings and actions but you can control your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

If you can’t find opportunities, why not create one? Therefore, why not focus on the things you can control rather than on the things that are outside your power of control. Grow above blame, accusations, and criticism.

Focus on becoming the kind of person you need to be in order to attract the ideal life you want to lead. Happiness, success, and fulfillment come from the inside out and not from the outside in. Focus on character formation and on what you need to do to turn every aspect of your life around.

Therefore, “if” is baggage that needs to be dropped in your life’s journey. Knock out “if” and embrace “I choose to…” which connotes responsibility and you will gain altitude.  



Timeless Gem

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About the Author


Udeme Archibong is a prolific writer, an astute communicator and a model of excellence. Her writings have made profound impact on thousands of lives around the world through her blog:, which has followings in over 70 countries in continents of the world.

She is a Self-Development Expert, who passionately works towards helping people maximize their destinies.

At some point, she was a motivational columnist, writing Success Recipe and Destiny Catalyst, for two Nigerian national newspapers, Vanguard and ThisDay, respectively. She is the initiator of the Revolution Series Seminars