Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering “it will be happier.”
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Another challenging year is in the rearview mirror and we’re still not having fun yet. Things did not “return to normal” in 2021; with the world remaining under the thumb of an unrepentant virus and a surge of hate crimes.
I, for one, would like a better new year. As the old year draws to a close I pray for an improvement on the one we are leaving behind. But unless we make up our minds to be part of the solution, I fear we’re in for a lot more of the same.
All of us are wondering what 2022 has up her sleeve and none of us, including me, know the answer. But I do know this: All of us have the potential to do better.
Us Against Them
While we are ambivalent about a final tally on 2021, it is most definitely better than 2020. Surprisingly, most people (including me) believe 2022 is going to be a better year. The problem, as I see it, is that we disagree on what better looks like.
Most of our differences have political roots—and those roots go deep into our belief system. We have abandoned the idea that we can work together, replacing it with divisiveness that pushes toxic and partisan political agendas.
I’d like to stop wearing a mask, see a minimum wage that keeps pace with the economy, and hear less political hate speech. None of that appears to be on my horizon in the current climate.
We equate being better with our personal beliefs and those beliefs center themselves in politics. The misguided belief that a political party or alliance is either the problem or the solution is simply not true.
Good people belong to both political parties. But so do people promoting hate speech, racial inequality and violence. Making the world a better place is not a one-man or one-woman job; If we want things to be better, we must collectively live into that vision.
Choose Strong Leaders
A strong leader is a model for everyone. In business and in politics, governance directs the course of counties and companies. Leadership is a privilege, not a right, and strong leaders uses their platform to make things better.
As individuals we have the ability make small changes at the grassroots level, but the sweeping change our country needs requires focused leadership to push it forward. Big changes never happen on their own; but no change is possible when we get stuck in the quicksand of entitlement and self-righteousness.
If we fail at doing better as a country, our economic and political leadership on the world stage will continue to decline.
Learn From the Past
Steve Jobs, in his 2005 commencement speech to Stanford University, shared his belief that the dots in our lives always connect. We don’t end up where we are by accident. Jobs told the graduating students, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them by looking backwards.”
Although he is talking about personal choices, listening to his speech shows how our previous decisions and actions link us to our future. Connecting the dots of past choices brings understanding and perspective to current decisions.
He suggests remaining true to ourselves; refusing to accept doctrines and policies that hide our inner voice of reason. It’s another way of saying that learning from our missteps means we aren’t doomed to repeat them.
If we want 2022 to be a better year, connect the dots. Understanding the things we said and did that got us here is a good starting point for change.
Let The Old Year Go
And with it, your prejudices, regrets, slights, grievances and the belief that you—and only you—are right.
If 2021 taught us anything, it’s that hate breeds hate. Hating someone for political and religious beliefs, the color of their skin, or sexual orientation further divides us.
A better 2022 demands the courage to change. We live in uncertain times and it’s tempting to sit on the sidelines while someone else steps up. There’s less risk, and it’s easier to say “it wasn’t me” when things don’t work out.
Don’t be that person. It takes courage to step up and step in, along with strong leadership, faith and maybe even a miracle or two.
To be better in the new year we must do better in the new year.
When You Know Better, You Do Better
Get rid of negativity. Everyone has at least one negative person in their tribe. Someone incapable of seeing the glass half full who makes sure no one else can see it either. Get rid of these people. Find the individuals or groups that pay it forward and gather them into your circle.
The late Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “There is a lot of hate in the world, but there is also a lot of good.” Stay positive and choose to be part of the good; commit to knowing and doing better for each other and for the world.
Happy New Year
I wish you a New Year filled with good health, adventure, prosperity and peace. Remain curious and challenge yourself in ways that help you (and those around you) grow. You are only as smart as your curiosity allows you to be.
Thank you for sharing your Mondays with me for the past eight years. I’m looking forward to my new role as a guest blogger and honored to remain part of The Next Phase Blog.
We can do better, and I know we will.