Nearly 200 years ago, the American short story “Rip Van Winkle” became an instant classic. The main character, Rip, is an unambitious man who is very good at avoiding two things: work and his wife.
One day, while wandering in the mountains with his dog, he discovers a group of strangely dressed men drinking and playing games. After accepting some of their liquor, Rip becomes drowsy and closes his eyes for a moment. When he opens his eyes again, he is surprised to find that his dog is gone, his rifle has rusted, and he now has a long beard.
Rip makes his way back to his village only to discover that everything has changed. His wife has died, his friends are gone, and the portrait of King George III in the tavern has been replaced by a portrait of someone he does not recognize—by General George Washington.
Rip Van Winkle had been sleeping for 20 years! And in the process, he had missed one of the most exciting periods in the history of his country—he had slept through the American Revolution.
In May 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used this story as an illustration for his speech “Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution.”
If you’re reading this, that is just one sign that proves that you made it past 2016. Some are still trying to figure out how they made it past 2016…well, what matters now and most are the positives you are going to make this new year. And I would like to take the same theme and propose a question to all of us: are you already sleeping-walking through 2017?
You have one life. You are the artist. Don’t just make life work, you make it a masterpiece. When you are the artist of your life, it reminds you constantly that your life is your responsibility. Don’t be a sleepwalker and let your life run on auto-pilot. Take control and give it all you’ve got.
Mentioned below are a few life-hacks that you can choose to apply in your life so as to make this year great.
Remember this: every attempt is about learning
When you fail, that’s actually really good information. Before you failed, you thought that something would work (a prediction), but then real-world information came in, that told you it didn’t work. That means you now know something you didn’t know before. That’s excellent. Now you can adjust your plan, figure out something new, try a new method. Indeed, you may stumble, you may fail, but you are not your failure! Keep learning.
Embrace experimentation. The world has come this far because a few people dared to try. Dared to dream. We thrive on change but hate change. The only way forward is change, but change it hard. You can’t make, create, do or start anything worthwhile if you are not willing to experiment. Find inspiration from the greats. Start exploring what’s possible and make every move in that direction.
Focus on developing your craft
Everything meaningful in life takes time and perseverance. One of the greatest impediments to living a fulfilling life is our impatience, the almost inevitable desire to hurry up the process, express something, and make a quick splash.
Leonardo began work on the Mona Lisa in 1503 and continued to make changes to it through 1506. He re-worked the painting until 1517.
If you want to be the best at anything, you need to value the process. The value of practice can have profound effects on your career.
When you practice something — anything — you improve, you grow, you advance, you gain a skill and heaps of confidence in the process, because you get better with time.
You’ll suck at most things in the beginning. And that’s okay. It takes time, persistence, and patience to create your most amazing work. Keep on trying.
Challenge your boundaries
Think of the mind as a muscle that naturally tightens up over time unless it is consciously worked upon. Your personal growth significantly depends on new challenges and activities. Tackle the fear that has kept you from living your best life. Your mind has a way of rising to the occasion. Challenge it, and it will reward you.
Challenge your mind — even making it a little uncomfortable by pushing yourself to learn tasks that may not come naturally. Most things seems impossible until they are done. Give yourself permission to think and act beyond the usual.
Great life, work or art, like a healthy financial portfolio, takes time to mature. Your best work and life is ahead of you and will emerge with patient attention, time, and strategic action. Go get it!
I wish you all a Prosperous and Happy New Year.