"Mommy, I am having bad thoughts that scare me,” the six year old girl was struggling. Wisely, her mom said, "You get to control your thoughts so choose to think about other things.” She was teaching a powerful lesson to her daughter. 

I'm learning. It seems that we are living in a time of incredible opportunity and massive divide. I watch and listen. I see those who are driven by all the wrong things like power, greed and control. I hear stories of manipulation, corruption and evil. I also see those who are driven by purpose, clarity and a desire to lead well. I hear how lives have been touched, impacted, and changed for the better. What is the differentiating factor? 

How can one person read an article on growing as a leader and gain insightful takeaways for their life and another person read the same article and discount it as rubbish gaining nothing from it? What is the thing that causes us to take such different directions and approaches in our lives?

I understand  that there are unique complexities that affect every individual. I can't truly know your past and you cannot know mine. But I believe there is a common denominator that we all possess. This powerful commonality crosses diverse political, socioeconomic, religious, and gender pathways. I am learning that while we all have this option, we use it very differently. 

The common denominator is choice. We all have the ability to choose how we respond to life's opportunities both good and bad. We get to decide how we will face each day. We cannot control what passes through our mind but as a wise leader once told me, "We don't have to let negative thoughts build a nest in our mind".  No one has control over your view of life but you. No one can dictate your attitude but you. 

Learning that we do have a choice can be life changing. When we use that choice to take control of our thoughts we will make a difference.