The Most Important Post of 2016

December 20, 2016

The Most Important Post of 2016

As we head into Christmas 2016 and bustle towards a new 2017, it is easy to undervalue what is most important, and overvalue unimportant "things". Too many of us allow societal pressure to be foisted upon us, to make us feel we are below standard, that we need to do more or to be more. Unfortunately, this tends to turn our holiday season from one of joy and love to one filled with stress and depression. The great news, we can make a change.

There are interesting studies regarding our perception and how it relates to the environment around us. Psychologist Richard Wiseman surveyed people who considered themselves "lucky" and "unlucky":

"[Wiseman] gave both the "lucky" and the "unlucky" people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.

How could the "lucky" people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." So why didn't the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message.

"Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of opportunities. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore more apt see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for."

This points to the great deal of control our perception has on our environment, but then also how we perceive our environment to our current situation. Here is how I view the cycle:

1) Send out good energy

2) Receive good energy

3) Appreciate and perceive good energy

4) Rinse and repeat

Joshua Becker, at Becoming Minimalist, wrote a piece about how viewing life as fragile, that "Those who recognize and accept the truth that life is fragile live their lives fully in light of it." I love his take on perception, and how viewing life as something of great value, something that can be taken at any moment, helps us respect the time we have to enjoy, but also the time we have to enjoy others.

He writes:

Those who understand life can be changed forever in the blink of an eye will seek to:

  • Find joy and gratitude in their present blessings. They will recognize every good thing in life is a fragile gift.
  • Remove fleeting pursuits. Our lives are too valuable to waste chasing and maintaining unneeded possessions.
  • Overcome the past and not make assumptions about the future. Instead, they will live each day in the present.
  • Make the most of every opportunity. Forgive who needs to be forgiven. Express love and gratitude to those who deserve to hear it.
  • Live lives of significance. Each new day is an opportunity to make a difference. Don’t waste it."

It seems that by sending out positive energy and having an open mind to opportunities; we can couple that with understanding that life is a great gift, to be enjoyed and shared with others. This all implies freedoms we have. The freedom to enjoy, the freedom to love, the freedom to abandon worry, the freedom to live life to the fullest, without apology.

The good news: We can change! The bad news: We have to make the change. Nobody will do it for us. It is up to us, as individuals, to decide how we are going to mentally approach the day, view our opportunities in life, understand our relationships with friends and loved ones. How we are going to fashion our lives?

As you look forward with determination, think purposefully about:

Do you have a lucky or an unlucky mindset?

Will you select goals based on your input rather that external inputs?  

How the goals you choose, and the path to achieving them, will shape you into the person you want to be?  

Cheers to a Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!




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