2013-2014Hope you are enjoying the Holidays and getting ready for the New Year.

While some may say “What’s in a year, it’s the same old thing all over again?”  That’s one perspective.  This is the time of the year to be ever present to many things–gratitude for the good things we have enjoyed and all the learning as a result of our experiences.  It is also a time when we can get caught up in the frenzy of the holly daze, a term I recently came across and instantly liked.  At my recent Meetup, each of us shared our perceptions and feelings about the holidays in our learning circle.  It was a real educational experience for me to hear every kind of emotion described ranging from excitement and joy at one end all the way to stress, sadness and regret at the other.  It’s simply amazing to see how much one’s perception effects their mood this time of the year.

Today at lunch, I received this message in my fortune cookie, “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”  I find so much wisdom in it.  In fact, more of us should view mistakes as opportunities to learn and not view them as bad or as failures.  A few years ago, I fell in love with this quote from the movie, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”   When I researched to find whose quote it was, I must say this particular one had the maximum number of attributions.  I am, however, going to attribute it to Will Rogers.

As we wrap up 2013, I must say that it has been a magical year for me.  Using traditional metrics, however, most may view is as very ordinary, but the learning and the people who came into my life this year has been simply incredible.  My work with the Mindful Nation Foundation introduced me to the plight of our Veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress, our teachers and the confines of the system, the levels of stress in the workplace and last but not the least, the power of our mind to impact our life and the lack of care given to keep it healthy.   This brings me to the big question.

How can we take what we learned in 2013 and apply it to our lives in 2014?

I sincerely believe that events and circumstances show up in our lives to teach us what we need to learn at that moment.  While the lessons may be tough or even painful while we endure them, I have always found that they have been true blessings in disguise.  As Napoleon Hill so eloquently stated, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”  Too often, we tend to get so absorbed and consumed in the adversity that we fail to pay attention to the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Time is an extremely precious commodity and how we allocate it determines the outcomes in our lives.  Making the right choices to devote our time and attention is a critical skill that many of us do not train to master.   Mastery comes from intelligent practice; not mere repetition.  Repeating the same moves will most likely produce the same results.  We must consciously make some change to alter the course of our future.  A very effective way to monitor our progress is to have an accountability partner at least for a couple of months.

Most of us parents and teachers keep yelling at our kids to “pay more attention,” but we rarely take the time to teach them how to pay more attention.  The primary reason, I believe, is due to the fact that we don’t know the answer either.  We were yelled at by our parents and teachers and now it’s our turn to do the same with our kids.  As we make our New Year Resolutions, it is critical that each of us commit more of our time to learning first and then teaching our young and old the skills to live, learn and enjoy a more rewarding life.

To summarize my sentiments as we end 2013 and move forward to 2014, I found two sets of statements that seem to exemplify what I would like to share with you.

“For when the one great scorer comes to write against your name,
He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game”
      – Sir Henry Newbolt

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.”
    -Abraham Lincoln

Wishing you and yours a magical 2014 with peace, excitement and joy!

Krishna