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As the year comes to a close many of you may be thinking of making New Year Resolutions. The beginning of a new year is a time when people resolve to make changes in their life, perhaps to get fit, or stop smoking or drinking, to take up a new hobby. I hope this well-known story might give you food for thought.

An old pencil maker, took the pencil he had just finished making, and before putting him in a box with the other pencils, told him there were five things he needed to know to become the pencil he could be:

“The first thing’, he said ‘ is to remember you can do many great things, but you will need to put yourself in someone else’s hands.”

“At times you will experience a painful sharpening, but this will make you a better pencil.”

“Along the way you will make mistakes, but don’t worry, these can be erased, and you can make it right.”

As you go through your journey, you might not look as good from the outside, but always remember, it’s what is on the inside that matters.”

“Finally, whatever surface you are used on, rough or smooth, always leave your mark, and keep doing what you were made for.”

In essence the pencil maker is telling his pencil to be humble and open to guidance; to overcome the pain that life throws at us from time to time; to accept and correct mistakes; to accept and believe in self, and finally, to keep going even when the path is bumpy. Perhaps this could be your New Year Resolution — live your best life.