New Years’ Resolutions are a great annual feature that help us realign our aspiration and to sharply focus ambition as a way to springboard ourselves into a new year brimming with optimism and the success we all hope for in our lives. The possibility of what an entirely new, spotless slate can hold fills us with excitement and hope, two human qualities that allow us to dream and dare to achieve our wildest dreams, and to stop the rots that have previously plagued our ancestors so that our descendants will never have to struggle in the same way again. However, with the denouement of 2018 drawing ever closer, I’m doing something different.
As inspiring as looking forward into a new dawn may be, I feel that it’s not as productive as what could really propel me into a brand new year. It has become commonplace to forget the lessons that the past has taught us. It’s becoming easier to erase that uncomfortable chapter in our lives, to pull down that monument that harks back to a time more unequal and cruel and airbrush that selfie because the skin could be clearer, so that our flaws are eradicated and we can focus on what is positive. It ignores that we, as humans, are all inherently flawed. We are all born, we all die and we all fall short during the course of our lives. No one escapes that, and if ever we do, we’ll probably have reached some kind of deity status and become incompatible to the traditional homo sapiens.
Naturally, we all want to be perceived as strong, kind and intelligent rather than weak, malicious and uniformed not just for our own egos, but for others in an ever-changing, progressive world. We all want to be counted, and we feel that because of some flaw or symptom, we often count ourselves out needlessly. But striving towards true progress is not attained by simply getting rid of all evidence of our mistakes and errors in judgment, it is to convert such shortcomings into glorious successes. I feel that we are quickly being immersed in a time where we are quick to throw stones from our fractured glass houses and analyse everyone under a scathing microscope. Failure, flaws and foibles should be celebrated – you are alive! You have tried things, done things with massively undesirable effects and have hurt many inadvertently, all in the pursuit of perfection. Welcome to the sanctity of humanity, your mistakes are gladly welcomed. Looking back to the future means to rigorously self-reflect and dissect yourself under your own microscope of values that you aspire to project daily. But throw nothing away, be open and bare and imperfect, because to understand both the scratches on the surface and the ones burrowed deep within, can you only begin to become better. After all, at the heart of every innovative solution lies a fundamental problem.
So instead of a resolution for 2019, I tried looking back at some lessons I have learnt from the 365 days that have flown by all too quickly, so that I can get ahead in the whatever the future has laid in store for me.
What if you’re right, and they’re wrong?