Every New Year people come up with New Year Resolutions. One of the greatest reasons people fail in following up on these resolutions, is because their resolutions are based on external motivations with NO in-depth knowledge of themselves. Most times, they do not create plans based on any real and tested desires. Instead, such resolutions are based on societal “expectations” of physical appearance, erroneous beliefs of the “drudgery of work” and general lack of robust knowledge about self and change.
One lady told me recently that she was going to lose weight and get a new job as her two New Year Resolutions. However, in probing further, I found out that she had no strong or in-depth reasons for desiring these changes, and had no long term plans or methods of reaching her goals. She just did not like her weight or her job. Despite the fact that weight loss attached to appearance goals consistently fail, and leaving jobs without assessing your skills and abilities also fail, she repeatedly asserted that she would succeed. She could succeed, but her chances are very slim for any long term success.
I did share with her the following ways to change one’s life to have meaning, purpose and joy:
1. Read BOOKS often. Read Good books on success, achieving professional improvement and self development etc. I always suggest a minimum of two books per month. The reason is simple. People, who write good books, spend time in providing information, guidelines and examples for success in your life or profession, in these books. The information in good books is mostly based on research and experience. Therefore, they enable you use such tested information to effect changes or improvements in your own life. Remember, year after year, you remain the SAME for the most part, except for the books you read (and a few other parameters). Nothing replaces learning for anyone who wants to be a success personally and professionally. Read good Books!
2. Assess the company that you keep. If you surround yourself with happy focused people at work, and away from work, you will probably have the same attitude as they do. Do not associate with toxic people whether they are overtly or covertly toxic, flee from them. I frequently assess my friendships and decide if they are working for me. Friends can bolster the quality of your life or decrease it. If any friendship, or relationship, does not provide mutually beneficial FOCUS and satisfaction to you both, it will not propel you forward to a life of meaning and joy. Assess it, and determine if it is worth retaining such relationships.
3. You cannot have lasting success at work, have good relationships, pursue your dreams, or live joyfully, if you do not know who you are. Trite as this may sound, it is critical to know yourself even as you improve your life— for you to have success and live a good life. Where do you start, if your perceived strengths and weaknesses are based on your upbringing, or rooted in the mindless societal screams spread by technology without basis in truth or fact? The quest for self knowledge is a consistent and constant one, and it is linked to a peaceful but determined commitment to examine your thoughts, knowledge and desires. Only people who know who they are can effectively determine where they will go and be successful. Your goals are strategically designed by you, based on your knowledge of you. So know yourself. Who are you?
More than ever, we live in a society that is mob and conformity driven. This is because of the social media obsession with minutiae, lack of study and analysis of matters by many folks, a sensationalist media with little robust evidence based direction, and personal life styles which create little room for pursuing lasting purpose and meaning.
In the midst of a society that sometimes is “zombie like” in behaviors, be brave, dare to be courageous in your quest for living a life of meaning, and affect others positively in the process. It is great to be different if you doing what you know is best for you. You will make mistakes, and have challenges, BUT your knowledge of you will give you the strength to regroup and move forward. It is okay to be visible, it is okay to think differently and it is okay to be analytical and focused. Quite simply, it is NECESSARY to be comfortable with positive behaviors, and meaningful use of your skills, that are uniquely you so that you can set achievable and meaningful goals for your life. Making a difference in the world starts with you.
Let me end with this reminder. Everyday will run its course whether you decide to enjoy it or not. At the same time, your life is concomitantly running its course for the TERMINAL end, which all humans share. Is it not worth taking steps to know yourself, set professional and personal goals, and pursue the best life you can live? Can you not reject the mob cries and walk your own path? Is it not time to start reading good books regularly to craft a path for your life? Is the time not now? What are you waiting for?
“The type of life you live daily, your daily happiness, sadness, and the quality of life you enjoy, are all defined by the choices you make in your thoughts and actions– every hour, every day.” Quote by Sonia Johnson Esquire—2010 (Law and Psychology Seminar—Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University)
Best wishes to you!