With just a few days left in the year many, if not most, of us are ready to consign 2020 to the trash heap of history. Eager to look to 2021, we will set goals, make plans and share our hopes for a brighter future.
If you believe that everyday is a blessing or understand recency bias, you will realize that by looking ahead we may be missing an opportunity right in front of our face.
When each day is approached as a blessing, we see possibilities to take better care of ourselves, be present for our children or neighbors, serve others, and just put a little bit of good back into the world. It recognizes and honors the fragility of life by not taking it for granted.
Recency bias refers to the psychological phenomenon that we remember things that are closer to our present. So the good you do in December may stay in your mind more than the pain you felt in March. Providing, of course, we both do the good and tell that story to ourselves and to others.
This is not about the power of positive thinking. It is the power of positive finishing.
Like many worthwhile things, this is easier said than done. I woke up this December 26th with my typical malaise that follows Christmas and my birthday. Coming down from the high of a day of giving, receiving, gratitude and smiles, I began reflecting on all the things I had to do over the next week. The errands, preparations, organizing and tasks that awaited me to “get ready” for the next year. I also did my fair share of looking back on 2020, lamenting what was lost or left undone.
Then I was reminded by the quote from the Irish poet, Malachy McCourt: “If you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you’re pissing on the present.” Apologies for the strong imagery but a reminder to watch what you’re doing now.
I hope you wake up each morning and find ways to make each day a blessing – for you, your friends, your family or a stranger. The momentum of this recent experience will set the foundation for how you approach 2021. By finishing strong, you set the stage for a better beginning.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are three things I’ve discovered in the last few weeks that might get you in a helpful frame of mind:
– Read The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do it Again by Robert Putnam with Shaylyn Romney Garrett
– Listen to the profoundly simple and thoughtful music of Andrew Bird on Spotify (I’d recommend Hark! or My Finest Work Yet.)
– Watch “Soul” the life affirming new movie from Pixar now on Disney+
Wishing you and yours a Happy End Year .