While looking for something else, I found this quote that I've had for years, but re-discover regularly:
You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.
--Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.5
Although there are certain circumstances beyond our control, we are still responsible for our choices. We can blame someone else or events for our failures, but ultimately our success is our own responsibility. The failure to achieve what I want is, usually, because (one way or another) I didn't desire it enough to shape my will, which shapes my deed, etc. Also important for me to remember is to be realistic in my desires; I am never going to a professional basketball player and wouldn't have been if I'd started at five and practiced every day. My goals (desires) need to be within my reach, and I need to desire to be the best I can be, not the best. And choices, don't they reveal what you really want? Inspite of what I think I want, my choices are saying something else. Oh, and last but not least, achieving desires can't always be accomplished in a month, a year, or 10 years...it can be an infinite process.
And another favorite quote:
A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.