Reflections on the things I learned and relearned in the Year 2022
Looking back, it feels like we only just ushered in a new year yesterday and now we are preparing to enter another year. For some other people, it may have seemed as though we have had twice the number of days this year. Time does fly quickly or slowly, depending on what is going on in one’s life.
Every year typically ends with an expectation that the new year will bring better things. Irrespective of what we have been through, we all pray that better things will happen in the coming year. However, life happens to everyone and we all experience the good and the bad, the joyful and the sad, and the highs and the lows. This is our reality, and we need to understand it.
At a time like this, we take a look at the experiences we have had and the lessons we have learned from the current year to prepare us for the new year. Then we spend time planning for the new year so we can be better prepared.
2022 may not have been your best year but I am sure you found ways of making lemon juice out of the lemons that you got. Here are some of the things I learned and relearned this year to help make my lemon juice.
Be more open to learning
Your compound is always the largest until you leave your compound and walk around the neighbourhood. Many of us are convinced that what we know is the gospel truth but we should be more open to having our knowledge challenged by exposing ourselves to new knowledge. This doesn’t necessarily mean that new knowledge will always dispel our existing knowledge, rather it helps us identify our knowledge gaps so we can be better informed.
Being consistent is crucial
This is one factor that can help us achieve exponential results in various aspects of our lives. We very often take an approach that involves taking irregular actions or one big action and expecting immediate results. This may work the first time but there is no guarantee that it will always work. Small, consistent actions are guaranteed to trump large, inconsistent ones because they help us build sustainable habits. John Maxwell says that the secret to our success can be found in our daily routine.
Choose commitment over involvement
In the story of the English breakfast, the chicken lays the eggs while the pig lays down its life to give bacon. Some would say that the chicken is involved in the process because it can continue to give eggs but the pig is committed to the process because it needs to sacrifice its life. When we commit to tasks or responsibilities, we need to remember that we have given our word to be accountable. We must not assume that someone else will pick up the slack because someone else most likely has his/ her responsibilities to handle as well. Also, staying through the course even when obstacles come our way is important but recognising when we can no longer maintain our commitment and being honest about it, is very crucial.
Take a breather when you need one
It is easy to get overwhelmed especially in a country like Nigeria and most especially in a city like Lagos. Everything seems to be happening so fast as responsibilities build up and resources struggle to meet expectations. It is so easy to get swamped and it is at this point that we need to take a step back. Rest and rejuvenation should never be sacrificed on the altar of achievement. No matter how bad or stressful things get, they will never remain the way they are. The only thing we can control is ourselves and we need to recognise when to deploy the brakes. Taking a break helps one achieve better clarity and we could all do with a pair of clear eyes.
Take calculated risks
Risk-taking is a confirmed part of life. Every activity or engagement has a measure of risk, and identifying the inherent risks in whatever we do can save us time and other resources. Count the cost and consider the requirements before you commit. Be fully aware of all the risks involved and then plan to mitigate those risks.
You have not communicated if your message has not been understood and the expected action has been taken. Focusing on clearly articulating your thoughts before speaking whilst also listening to understand are very underrated skills. The difference between what we have and what we want very often rests in how we communicate our expectations. We often spend time assuming that we have been understood whereas the reverse may be the case.
Bet on yourself more often
Put yourself forward once in a while. Don’t overthink it and don’t worry too much about whether you will succeed or fail. What is important are the things that you will learn through the process and the people you will get to interact with. Say yes more often
Celebrate the small wins
There is always something to celebrate aside from birthdays, promotions, and even new acquisitions. We need to also celebrate the little events we often take for granted such as waking up, being in good health, and having our basic needs met. Cultivating an attitude of celebration helps us see the good in every situation. Be your own cheerleader as well. External validation is good but internal validation is equally as important.
It is amazing how we very often assume people’s circumstances without them first informing us. We never know what people are going through and these experiences very often shape how they perceive and interact with the world. We should always focus on being kind and thoughtful when dealing with others, especially those who may not maintain the same views as us. Sometimes, all a person needs is a listening ear and some wise responses, not the clap backs that don’t address issues.
Be active in a community
We are communal people and everyone needs to belong to at least one group of like-minded individuals. This could be an alumni body, a religious or work group, a family unit, or even a group of friends with history. Within communities, we can be sources of help to those in need or the beneficiaries of help when we are in need. Communities also offer a sounding board, access to opportunities, a chance to learn new things, and a chance to achieve greater things either for self or the community.
The things we had hoped for or hoped to achieve, which didn’t materialise in the outgoing year, often make up the things we pray for in the new year. One surefire way of getting what we desire involves making small changes in our lives. I am sure you have also learned and relearned things this year. We must act on our learnings to create the future we desire. As always, this is the way I see things today.