Happy New Year! I hope like me, you’ve had an enjoyable holiday, whether your idea of enjoyable is peaceful time with yourself, or boisterous times with family and friends. A number of years ago we started a policy at RealWired where employees are able to take a couple of weeks off during the holidays, as long as they are available to respond to clients or company issues that arise. It’s been great for everyone. We all tend to come back refreshed and ready to hit the new year running. I’m really excited about the things that our company and clients we help, were able to accomplish last year, and we have a lot on our plate that we are looking forward to this year.
I believe behaviors are what drive our accomplishments, even more than our feelings or attitudes, and there’s science to back up my belief – we react most based on what we do, not how we feel. If you have doubt, just think about yourself lying in bed in the morning, not wanting to get out from underneath the warm covers. If you rely just on your feelings or your attitude, you’ll likely stay in bed until things warm up, your back hurts from the mattress – forcing you up, or you just can’t sleep anymore because your brain starts to race. Now think about the physical behavior of getting out of bed and once done, how good you feel about starting your day. By the way, if you don’t feel great about starting your day after your feet hit the ground, I’d suggest that as 2020 starts you might want to start figuring out why.
Please don’t mistake my belief that “behavior,” drives “attitude” rather than “attitude” drives “behavior,” as ignorance about how our attitude and that of the people around us impacts our every waking minute. Heck, attitude probably impacts not just our waking hours, but our dreams as well. How we feel is indeed, important. I think that’s why when I had an opportunity to read Nicolas Kristof’s New York Times op-ed on December 28th, This Has Been the Best Year Ever, I wanted to share it. My hope is that my behavior of passing along some of what Nicholas shares in his article will impact how you look at the beginning of 2020.
He starts by saying; “In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.”, and goes on to give facts to support his opinion such as:
“As recently as 1981, 42 percent of the planet’s population endured ‘extreme poverty,’ defined by the United Nations as living on less than about $2 a day. That has plunged to less than 10 percent of the world’s population now.”
“A half century ago, a majority of the world’s people had always been illiterate; now we are approaching 90 percent adult literacy. There have been particularly large gains in girls’ education — and few forces change the world so much as education and the empowerment of women.”
He goes on to provide more facts and opinions that gave me pause for thought and reasons for optimism even against our current political climate, the war in Yemen, Boeing plane crashes, disparencies between the haves and the have nots, starvation in Venezuela, risk of nuclear war with North Korea, climate change, and more. If you want to read his article and don’t have a subscription to the New York Times, you can sign up for a free sample subscription or ask that I send you more excerpts that support his belief, that because 2019 was the best year in history, 2020 will be good too.
I’m an admitted optimist. I’m guessing my genetic predisposition towards optimism (which researchers say is prevalent in about 50% of the population), my learned optimism gained as a survival technique from childhood, and my experiences as an adult, may have shaped me to be seen by some as “Pollyanna-like”. But I’ll own that label against worry, that deep pessimism about the state of the world is paralyzing, rather than empowering, and can even have people feeling helpless.
So, my plan for 2020 is to continue to walk on the sunny side of the street, unless it’s just too darn hot here in Florida, at which point, I’ll cross into the shade. I ask that you join me there and consider trying on a new set of lenses to see if 2020 can bring you 20/20 visual acuity or “perfect” vision for optimism.
Happy New Year. I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you throughout the year!