When I was in kindergarten, there was this girl I had a crush on. I knew she liked me because she used to chase me around the playground. We used to play kickball and of course, as you can imagine, kindergarten romance involved “koodies” and plenty of teasing when it came to the opposite gender. I remember one day we were sitting down outside of class against the wall waiting for our parents to come and all of the sudden–she kissed me on the cheek. Woah!

Two days later, she pushed me into a rose bush that was the king of all rose bushes. I actually fell completely into this thing and was sitting there in pure pain. After pulling myself out, I had to go home because my cuts and scrapes were so bad. This is not a story about romance–although I found out at a very young age how confusing girls can be sometimes – instead, it is a story about the good that comes along with the bad.

The other day I wrote about leading a life that is absent of arrogance, but I realized I learned the lesson of not gloating for too long at a young age. There are things in life that are going to make you incredibly happy, but if you try to hold onto them too tight, eventually, you will get pushed into some thorns.

If there is something I have truly learned over the past year it has been the value of accountability. When I say this, I’m referring to accountability for the things I said I was going to do, for the way I want to act, and for my dreams. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. The ability to follow through and act upon what you said you would is a blessing. Believe me, there are plenty of examples of false promises in the world—all you have to do is take a look at politicians to get the picture. They make their livelihoods on false promises and then blame it on the other party. Most of the time, they blatantly lie and somehow get away with it. But since we don’t know the facts, we kind of just sit there clapping with no idea of what really is going on. That is probably the most you will ever hear me talk about politics… ever.

In a world full of silver linings and golden parachutes, where we award people for poor performance and give trophies to everyone even if they lose, I stand as a firm believer in competition. More than that, I believe in competing with yourself. I do believe that everyone has a chance to do something great with their lives. I also believe that people can turn things around. Finally, I believe that willpower is the only thing you need to change as an individual. Once you want it enough, you can do it. That is where the magic is—it’s inside of you, and you’re not going to get it from anyone else.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project