On February 19, I spent the better part of the day with five of my seven siblings and most of their families celebrating with dad on his 96th birthday. Yes, at 96, he has some health issues. A stroke at 80 slowed him down, but hasn’t dampened his spirits. He can no longer walk, but  he can get around in his electric cart and cheer up the other residents in the care facility. He is experiencing some dementia, but his fantasies for the most part are exciting and usually based on something he has experienced. He had suffered a heart attack 50 some years ago, but doesn’t remember exactly when. My youngest sister and I were trying to pinpoint when it happened: Was it before or after she was born? We asked dad and he said, “I really don’t remember. I’ve always tried to forget the bad things and concentrate on the good.”

My mom’s favorite response to almost any challenge she faced was, “This too shall pass.” How true that is. Nothing here lasts forever. My folks lived through the Depression—and many other trials and tribulations. They raised eight of us and helped with many other nieces, nephews and children of friends. I can’t say they were never down, but certainly not for long.

You and I can respond the same to whatever comes our way, especially if we work at it. We can’t control the economy, and we have little control over laws and regulations we have to deal with. However, we can provide our input to regulators and work together to affect change, and we can decide how we are going to react to each situation as it appears.

It should be self-evident that outcomes are going to be most influenced by our decision to look at any situation with hopelessness or hopefulness. In both the long run and the short run, we create our own self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, we have to be realistic, but that is not the opposite of optimistic. We need to be aware of what is happening around us, but at the same time recognize how we are going to use that information to our advantage. Take the information you have learned, today and previously, and use it to your advantage. Be creative and concentrate on what you can do.

The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.