What 2017 has taught me.
What 2017 has taught me
History will no doubt judge 2017 as being a momentous year for many reasons. As the year comes to a close, I have reflected on what 2017 has taught me and what I will be taking with me into 2018.
Lesson 1: What 2017 taught me.
Happiness is a choice. 2017 has taught me that Happiness is a choice. In this, I am backed up by scientific research. Happiness is both a choice and something that you can get better at, according to scientists. Have a look here for a Huffington Post piece on scientific proof that happiness is a choice.
Now, I know that choosing to be happy is not going to inoculate me from tragedy, bad days or things going wrong. Nor do I believe that my life will look like a heavily curated Instagram feed. But in 2018, I do intend to choose happiness. I intend to practice some of the strategies that help me improve my happiness.
Click here for 6 exercises that are proven to make you happier. Did you know that the most popular course at Harvard University is a course on positive psychology about how to be happy? The courses are on youtube, click here to have a look.
Lesson 2: What 2017 taught me
Consistency works. 2017 has taught me that just turning up makes a difference. It makes a difference to the people in your life and it makes a difference to your success. My point, is actually an old one. In the mid 6th century, Aesop’s fables told a tale about the tortoise and a hare, a seemingly mismatched pair for a race. For those who somehow missed Aesop’s teaching in their education, the tortoise won the race, after the hare took a nap, mid race.
2017 has taught me that I cannot fix everything, but, I can turn up. I can be there for others, I can be reliable and I can be counted on when needed. This, is the secret to my success. 2018 will see me showing up again, when times are good or bad.
Lesson 3: What 2017 taught me
Being judgemental does not make you happy. Being judgemental flies in the face of choosing happiness. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have won awards for my judgeyness. I am no saint. But, if 2017 has taught me anything, it is that standing in judgement of others has not made me happy. In fact, it makes me a bit of a miserable cow.
I have taken the time to observe some others around me who are tainted with the judgey gene. What I have observed is that others distrust them, and they are not more popular for it. So, as 2018 is the year of choosing happiness, I am hanging up my judgey boots, well, at least putting them at the back of the cupboard.
Lesson 4: What 2017 taught me
You have more in common than you have differences, focus on the commonality. Did you know that all of us humans are 99.99% genetically the same? It blows my mind that as a species, we spend so much time focusing on the 0.01% that makes us different from one another. 2017 has taught me that we have SOOOOO much more in common than we are different.
This year, I have been involved in a bit of a tricky change project. Initially, we all started by focusing on the things that we did differently and therefore dwelled on difficult the change would be. It was only once we focused on what we had in common (much more than what we did differently) that we were able to get traction on the project.
2017 has taught me that if I focus on what we have in common, then our differences are less of an obstacle and are less threatening. In 2018, I am going to focus on the 99.99% before I give energy to the 0.01%.
Lesson 5: What 2017 taught me
If you are neglecting your health, this is an issue for your career. 2017 has taught me that I do not spend enough time on what is really important. Health is important, and something that most of us take for granted, until something goes wrong. Get yourself checked out, make the difficult appointment. Fun Fact: the number one medical reason that soldiers are returned from an international deployment is dental health. Isn’t that crazy? Soldiers train and prepare for deployments their whole careers. Because they haven’t looked after their dental health, their ability to do their job is compromised.
Ignoring your health can have serious consequences on your career. So, stop continuing to tell yourself that you are too busy to see your Doctor, Dentist, Podiatrist etc. The reality is, that keeping yourself healthy is a part of your career management.
Ladies, if you are over 40 (not 50) have a mammogram, in most states they are free. Gents, over 50, prostrate check. Start a regular regime of health checking.
Lesson 6: What 2017 taught me
Meditation and mindfulness are hard. But then again, nothing that is truly worthwhile is ever easy. I tried to be mindful in 2017. I did. But it didn’t take. Likewise, with meditation, I have the best of intentions, but as I fall into bed, exhausted every night, I note that I did not achieve my 5, 10, 15 minutes of quiet time.
2017 has taught me that I am not good at meditation, but if I follow my own advice in point two, I need to keep turning up to do it. In point five I also had a bit of a song and dance about managing health, and from everything I have read, mindfulness and meditation will assist in doing just that. So, in 2018, I will continue to show up and be mindful and I will schedule in 10 minutes of meditation time, until it takes.
The lessons that 2017 taught all of us
There are thousands of other lessons I learnt this year, like how to navigate the Aldi Checkout, but they will have to wait for another post.
2017 was a momentous year, we saw Me Too, Marriage Equality in Australia and the World Economy grew. We saw natural disasters, cyclone Debbie in Australia, hurricanes Irma and Harvey in the Caribbean and Florida and a man-made disaster in the UK Grenfell Tower. Women in Saudi Arabia were granted permission to drive. Teenage pregnancy rates continue to decrease in Australia, the UK and the US.
We lost Jerry Lewis, Roger Moore, Adam West and Mary Tyler-Moore this year. But if 2017 has taught me anything, it is that this year future leaders, patrons of the arts and thought innovators were born. It will be amazing to see how 2017 is remembered.
What did 2017 teach you?