Tag Archives: New Year

This is Not a New Year’s Resolution: You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere

It’s been some time since my last post. In fact, it’s been more than a quarter of a year and nearly a third of a year. There are a confluence of reasons for that, but I’ll get to that later. The thing I wanted to highlight in today’s post is that the important thing is — starting.

Since I’ve been away from writing for so long, I started to think that my first post back had to be stellar. The insights contained within had to literally blow your socks off. In adding this unnecessary pressure, I noticed that when I had some time to write a post, I would procrastinate and do something else instead. Why? I felt like I didn’t have anything that good to say after having been away for that long. With each opportunity to sit down and write something, the pressure mounted and mounted, until I came to the realization that I was adding this pressure to myself. And it was unnecessary. I could simply let the pressure fall away and write.

As the annual arbitrary calendar event just passed, I thought this was the perfect time to share this with you. Why? A number of you will choose to take up New Year’s Resolutions (I strongly suggest a New Year’s Challenge, instead!) and a number of you will probably decide that it’s time to write that bestseller you’ve always wanted to. Having not gotten into the practice of writing everyday, there’s a good chance that staring at the white screen and blinking cursor will cause some anxiety. So what I’m telling you: You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere.

There are lots of places you could start and maybe that’s what’s causing the stress.

If you need a nudge, then, might I suggest starting with the thing that you know the most about? Your paragraphs and ordering of your thoughts don’t have to be perfect, but just getting your fingers (or hand, if you prefer the “old-fashioned way”) moving is important.

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Getting back to what I mentioned in the first paragraph (extended absence)… I didn’t expect things to get so hectic this past Fall. I moved again (still in the same city, though), the academic semester started (and ended), I broke my shoulder-blade in somewhat of a freak accident, and the little person that calls me Dadda started walking. As most parents will tell you, when that happens, it’s a whole new ballgame. Nonetheless, I think I’ve got a handle on things and that I’ll be able to write with greater frequency than I have in the last 4 months. As the annual arbitrary calendar event just passed, it’s a good time to check the “top posts of 2014” for this site, so look for those in the coming days.

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Instead of Resolutions, Make New Year’s Challenges

I may be a bit late to the party in writing about New Year’s Resolutions, but I did want to share with you a philosophy that I think you may find useful. When was the last time you made a New Year’s Resolution that you actually stuck with — for the whole year? If I’m being honest, I can’t think of one resolution that I stuck with the whole year, but then again, I can’t really remember any resolution I’ve made.

So, I submit — make a New Year’s Challenge!

First, there’s the language. A challenge is much more inviting than a resolution. (Am I right?) Second, do you know the definitions of these two words? Resolution:

A firm decision to do or not to do something.

While challenge means:

A call to take part in a contest or competition.

I don’t know about you, but a challenge — by definition! — is much more inviting. In fact, the idea of a resolution (in this context!) kind of seems a bit out there, doesn’t it? The sheer inflexibility of it nearly makes it an impossibility. It’s not fair to you to put such a stringent barrier on yourself. It’s no wonder that people fail to keep their resolutions — our ideas change all the time!

There’s another piece to this that I think is important: skills. A challenge to learn a new skill could certainly be compelling and it may expand one’s awareness. I remember last new year’s I signed up for CodeAcademy’s challenge to learn how to code. I know I didn’t finish it, but I got pretty far and it did re-jog my memory on some of the coding I’d learned in high school.

If you’re going to challenge yourself to learn a new skill, be sure to take it easy on yourself and be mindful of how you position this challenge. For instance, I’d like to learn how to play the guitar and the piano, and learn a couple of languages. It would be pretty silly of me to try to learn all of those all at once (although, some might argue that the reverse). I’m setting myself up to fail on some of these challenges. Like I said, it’s also important how I position these challenges.

For instance, it’s a bit ambiguous to say, ‘I’m going to learn Spanish or French.’ What does that mean? Do I want to be able to converse with strangers, order off of menus, work in the French government, etc. Instead of placing these kinds of targets, I’ve decided to just plan to practice French for 30 minutes a day (or 30 minutes a day during the week). This way, my skill will improve and I won’t have a vague target in the future. (As a brief aside: I’m still trying to decide between Memrise and Duolingo for practicing the new language. I may just alternate between both.)

What challenge(s) will you have for the new year?

Be Yourself: Erring on the Side of Authenticity

I’ve had very spotty internet connectivity over the past week or so and that’s why you haven’t seen any new posts from me for a while. I’ll continue to have spotty internet connectivity probably until next week, but there’s something I wanted to say before I got back into writing regularly here.

Just before the new year clicked over, someone passed along the trailer for Seth Godin’s new book. I’ve included it below:

After watching that trailer — it made sense. While I’m not necessarily an artist, I think the message that Godin is promoting is important: there is a bias for the middle road. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but that bias to the middle road does come at a price. I’d say that this is something that I certainly have been mindful of with the things I’ve written about online. Some may point to my series on psi phenomena (telepathy, precognition, etc.) as evidence that I’ve long since blown past the middle road, but when I wrote those posts, I was careful to make sure that I cited a litany of scientific studies supporting the existence of such phenomena. Others may point to posts like the one I’ve written about hugs instead of handshakes, but that doesn’t seem like it’s too far from the middle road.

Regardless of who points to what, I wanted to say — today — I’m declaring that I’m going to err on the side of authenticity. What does that mean? Well, in the past, I may have shied away from sharing his opinion or that opinion — especially because it’s online! — ‘and things online are forever.’ I’ve come to realize that this is silly. Yes, I’ve read all the things out there about how the pictures you post online or the things you write about online could prevent you from getting job-x or job-y. I understand that, but I still think it’s important to strive to learn. How can I expect myself to grow/learn, if I don’t share some of my sensitive ideas and open them up for discussion and debate? How can I expect to have these ideas challenged and improved? I certainly can’t.

When I started writing on the internet, I had this idea in mind. That is, I was mindful that my ideas in this moment, on January 8th, 2013, might not be the ideas that I have on January 8th, 2014. As a result, I wrote a bit about it in my disclaimer:

I am the creator of this blog and my perspective of five years or five minutes ago do not necessarily reflect my views right now. My thoughts, opinions and viewpoints will change as I learn, grow, and develop my understanding of the world. Therefore, I reserve the right to allow my viewpoints to evolve and to change my thoughts, viewpoints and opinions over time without assigning any reason for such changes.

I truly believe this and hope that those who may look to things I’ve written in the past and try to hold it against me will realize that I fully expect that my ideas will grow, shift, and change. This seems important to make note of because who knows, I may yet one day run for public office and I could totally imagine a clever reporter digging up things I’ve written in the past with glee showing that I was, in fact, on the “other” side of an issue that I may be staunchly for (in that present day). Who knows what the future holds.

I know one thing’s for sure, the kind of change that I want to be part of on a global scale certainly won’t be made by me (or others) erring on the side of the middle road. So long as I’m true to myself — authentic — and keep to my ethics/morals, I feel confident in standing up for whatever I’ve said.

So — this is not to say that I’m going to start advocating some extreme positions in tomorrow’s post (or even the next day’s), but I will, as the title suggests, err on the side of authenticity. I hope you’ll join me in this learning experience — maybe we’ll be able to teach each other something.

The Most Unifying Global Event: New Year’s Eve & Day

Is there a more unifying global event than New Year’s Eve & Day?

There have been some rather unifying global events in recent memory, but they usually involve some sort of catastrophe (think: tsunamis). In the US, series finales used to be watched by whole lots of people, but with the further development of individual niche markets, even that has tailed off. There likely won’t ever be a TV show that comes close to touching of over 100 million viewers and close to 80% of households watching.

was a pretty well-liked show, (so I’m told), and its series finale only came in at 54th on the same list. TV is ‘nice,’ but it’s not that I would want unifying the globe. Of course, there are exceptions. If everyone were watching a TV that was commemorating world peace or the end of world hunger, then sure, I’m in.

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As I sat and thought about the various global events that have happened, I wondered if there were a night/day more filled with hope and love than New Year’s Eve/Day. Some may cite holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, but those kinds of holidays can be seen as country-specific or denominational. While there are probably lots of people who celebrate these days regardless of their country and/or religion, I was looking for something with a wider scope.

We could go back in time to the , but again, that was country-specific. Of course, the Soviet Union was interested in the event, but I don’t know that it’s fair to say every country was as enveloped with the event. There’s nothing quite like a ‘new year,’ though, is there? All the potential, the hope, the possibility, the dreams.

I think that New Year’s Eve & Day will be, for quite some time, the most unifying global event. Why? Because this event can be completely different things for everyone. Some people can see it as the end of the “old year,” and some people can focus on the beginning of the “new year.” Some folks can use it as a way to springboard to a motivational state that allows them to achieve their goals/dreams, while others just see it as another day. New Year’s is, in a sense, the perfect event to whatever we want onto it.