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Why do we love resolutions so much? 

  • They allow us to consciously decide on the kind of people we want to be.
  • They give us a chance to begin anew, to wipe the slate clean.
  • They provide us with the hope of becoming a better person.
  • They help us believe we can atone for the mistakes we’ve made in the past.
  • They make us feel optimistic, hopeful and motivated.

But here’s the rub.

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In Brazil, the weather is near perfect for outdoor activity year round. So as a youngster growing up there, I spent a lot of time on the playground. But sadly, the playground was also my nemesis.

Remember that kid on the playground who was always physically capable of doing monkey bars, handstands and cart wheels? I was NOT that kid!

In fact I didn’t even try. Instead, I just ran around the park playing with the other kids who were like me—the ones who didn’t do all of the cool stuff.  

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“You haven’t read the Harry Potter books yet?”

My best friend clapped her hands with delight, her eyes shining, and stopped in her tracks. We were taking a leisurely twilight stroll through my old neighborhood in New York, but suddenly she looked like her heart was racing with joy.

In fact, she looked positively ecstatic.“I am so happy for you,” she said. “You get to experience it all for the first time!”

And of course she was right. There’s nothing like discovering a magical new world for the first time. It’s an experience you can never replicate, no matter how hard you try.

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In many regards, Rachel Beckwith was a typical kid. But not in all regards. What made Rachel extraordinary was that from as early as anyone could recall, she wanted to give to others. And in the end, she gave more than most ever do.

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