The New Years holiday is a special event of the collective psyche.
In a reductionist point of view, it’s simply another day on a man made calendar that’s not entirely harmonious with nature.
But when billions of people are acknowledging it as a thing, it becomes a thing.
Overall, New Years is net positive. People set out to make positive changes, some stick, and the world keeps spinning.
What’s important is that people are taking the time to both review the past year and then create new goals for themselves.
Society makes time for celebrating the New Year, but it’s up to you to make the time to think.
To be thorough with your planning, it’s going to take more than a single brainstorming session to get the annual aims hashed out.
We need more time for something so important.
Take this month and release the gas.
Spend it slowly figuring out the year ahead.
Instead of rushing out of the gates only to flame out soon after, use the month as a way to reset in a more sustainable way than maybe you normally would this time of year.
Hurried decision-making is our culture’s bread & butter.
It’s around this time of year that we’ll cast the grandest of plans for the year ahead, typically overdoing our wishes despite reality.
I’m a believer that the universe is malleable, but it’s our ability to be specific that makes it so.
What happens if you take that idea further?
You can’t take a whole year off, but in a meta-way you can spend the next year preparing for the next decade of your life.
To me, that takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Gives me room to breathe and loosens my white-knuckle grip on time.
I read once that people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade.
Sounds about right to me.
It’s invigorating though what’s possible with a whole decade to work with.
Great things take time and it’d be nearly impossible to achieve anything that I’d deem ‘great’ in only a year.
Stretch that same goal out across a decade and it’s dramatically less daunting.
And then, of course, you can use the next decade to setup yourself up for the rest of your life.
This perspective feels like making your life a piece of artwork.
Taking a decade to make your life arc crystal clear sounds pretty crazy. Possibly too abstract given our natural impatience.
But imagine if you could do it.
Imagine the existential weight that dissolves when you don’t have to figure out your life’s purpose by next weekend.
Imagine taking your sweet time exploring the world’s knowledge, having a curiosity-led approach to learning, and sinking in with as many present moments along the way as possible.
Seems sexy enough to me.
You have to consider things beyond just the surface.
On the surface, SO many things are shiny and seem like a great idea. But as soon as you extend your mind into the future past that initial decision, you’ll begin to see how things will likely shake out.
Saying yes today means you’ll be obligated to say no to many other things tomorrow.
Cause and effect are the real deal, yet you tend to only consider the first effect.
The downstream effects we are blind to. We have to go out of our way to really sit with them and piece together the probabilities.
You want the puppy because it’s cute, but completely overlook the potty training, the dog sitting when you’re out of town, and the leash rules in your favorite places.
That’s with a dog.
99.9% of our decisions aren’t going to love us back unconditionally.
The prime ingredient of personal growth is judgement.
It’s how we form opinions and sculpt ourselves into a defined individual.
Judgement is the dance between our inner views and the external world.
Judgement also exists on the backside of all decision-making. How we feel about the choices we’ve made.
It’s important to judge yourself on previous decisions, especially the ones related to last year’s aims and performance.
I’m not saying to be mean about it to yourself, but you definitely want to keep score because the inner judge doesn’t pass out participation trophies.
If judgement comes on the backend of decisions, discernment comes on the frontend - if we’re lucky.
Discernment is an underrated skill, maybe even a top skill of modern times to have.
In a world that can’t really agree on many truths, discernment will save your ass.
Discernment keeps you out of the ditches. It’s your only hope of solid ground.
It’s important to discern the things people say, but equally if not more important to discern your own passing thoughts.
The BS detector needs an internal sensor too.
Whatever your aims, try it on for size.
Spend your 20s dipping your toes in everything, you’ve got plenty of time. Really, it can be done in your 30s, 40s, and 50s too. There are no rules.
Do it for as long as it takes to gain a feel for what you want to do.
If you spend your whole life in this phase, maybe you were indecisive sure, but maybe you were just born at the wrong time. No hard feelings.
Shift-left theory is about testing out everything before you get too far along. It’s much easier to fix issues while they’re simpler than when things grow more & more complex.
If you have a way give a new lifestyle a trial run, it’d behoove you to.
Stretching your ambitions across a decade offers more than enough space to be experimental and to get things ‘right’.
The younger you are, the easier it is to try out lots of different things.
By the time you have children and adult responsibilities, you inevitably can’t be as flexible.
This is for the better though.
Early on, you can move cities on a whim, sleep on couches, and figure it out the hard way.
But later on, your kids wouldn’t appreciate a new school every year or two. The switching costs, even career-wise, starts to take a negative toll.
All big decisions gradually require more and more consideration before being acted upon.
The earlier in the process you are with anything, the more supple & responsive you can be - take advantage.
And then, once you’ve slowed down enough to immensely increase your strategies, you’ve sorted out the gold from the rough, and you have a solid inclination of what you want the next year, decade, etc. to look like….hit the fucking gas.
Maybe it’s my personality, maybe it’s human, but the prospect of pouring my all into something is intoxicating.
To be truly focused on one overarching aim, sounds heavenly to me.
This is when the world opens up and accommodates.
This is how the universe’s malleability becomes obvious.
This is when you ditch miles per gallon in favor of rpm’s.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)