(Note: For the next few days, I’ll be reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. You are welcome to join my thoughts and meditations. Have fun getting to know the “real me.”)
Today I continue my reflecting on the year gone by. Today I want to talk about my lessons. Yesterday, I spoke about my disappointments. It was those disappointments that taught me the crucial lessons that I am going to share with you below. Often, we feel that it’s a bad thing to have disappointments now and then. But they are perfect springboards for lessons that can define our lives and help us on the road to success. So here are my lessons. Once again, these are in no particular order.
– I learned that sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned. Sometimes, despite our best intentions and our meticulous planning, there are things outside of our control that come in the way of our plans. That’s just the way that life is. Although it’s frustrating, it helps to accept that some things are not going to pan out the way you thought. That doesn’t mean that you give up on them or “let them go” because they were “not meant to be.” Rather, it just means finding another way to go at them again. But I don’t have to feel bad because plans changed and things fell through. These obstacles are a part of life. Time to figure out how to overcome them.
– I’ve also learned that I need to be more realistic with my time and my planning. I tend to give myself less time in a particular endeavour than is necessary. Some things just take time to work out and I have to be prepared for that. A quote that I read last year that has become kind of like a mantra for me is this: “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in 10 years.” Maybe I didn’t get through that project this year. That doesn’t mean that I won’t see the results down the line. Don’t give up on something just because it takes time to see the result.
– I’ve also learned that I need to savor life along the way. I’ve learnt that life goes by too fast. I met my one-year-old niece last year in January and she was crawling and cooing about. I met her again in October and she was running around and talking up a storm. Amazing how much she’d changed in a short period of time! It’s more noticeable with babies, but each of us go through similar changes each year. Think about it. Your family has changed in January 2016. The environment has changed. Society has changed. The world has changed. Your friends have changed. YOU have changed. Your job may have changed. The things you did for fun this year are probably not going to be repeated again. Question is, did you stop to savor those changes along the way? That was my question to myself this New Year’s Eve. Did I enjoy each moment of the vacation with my family, or was I busy checking my phone because of important work waiting for me at home? Did I stop to hang out with my brother when he wanted to watch a movie and chill or was I busy trying to complete a rough draft of a training module. Did I stop to listen to the parrots chattering in the mango tree outside my house or did I close the window because it disturbed my conference call? Our family vacation was the first one together after nine years. Who knows when we’ll meet next? My brother has now moved to Spain to pursue a career in sports. Who knows when we’ll get the chance to hang out again? The mango tree outside our house was struck by lightening and collapsed during a storm. Now there are no more chattering parrots. It’s about time I learn not to be too busy making a life that I have no time to live.
– I’ve also learned the power of gratitude and of being grateful for everything that life sends my way. I may not have a perfect life, but I am blessed! That is good enough for me.
– I’ve also learned that everything I’ve “learned” this year I have spoken about or written about before or coached someone into. That in itself is a lesson for me. Sometimes, we need to stop and see whether we are “practising what we preach” and “living our sermons.” Knowing something, agreeing with something, and even teaching something isn’t a substitute for LIVING something. As a man that I’ve admired all my life once told me “Before you can pour out, you have to pour in.” I’ve got to take my own medicine once in a while and learn to live the things that I promote. Then my words become more than book knowledge, because I am living it through my own experiences.
– I’ve also learned that it is never too late to start again. And that is my goal for 2017…which I am going to talk about tomorrow! See you there!