2017: Lessons Learned

Published: 2018-01-14

2017 was a rough year for me. I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad I came out on top. I look forward to having a great 2018.

I am very fortunate to have several excellent mentors with very good advice. I now pass the advice on to you. Here are some reflections on lessons I learned the hard way in 2017.

Don't play the victim. Sometimes you may feel like the whole world is ganging up on you. Don't entertain that notion. Never tell your story with the intention of making someone else "feel" for you. Instead, ask yourself what you can do about it. You can conquer that situation!

Meditation to self (with apologies to Patty Smyth): "I am not the victim. I am the warrior!"

Spiritual warfare is real. There is a very real evil force tempting individuals and driving society into insanity. There is a saying that Satan's greatest trick is convincing the world he doesn't exist.

Cases in point: the degradation of the family unit, gamified "social media," and the current state of smartphones

When you are feeling down, count your blessings. Make a list of things you are thankful for. This is by far the best way to fight "the blues."

Try to be consciously aware of the moment. Recognize the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches and acknowledge how they make you feel. You will be more aware of your surroundings and more thankful for them.

Recognize that you are an imperfect individual, and that you often cannot see beyond your ignorance and biases.

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." – Thomas Sowell

Keep your locus of control internalized. Believe in yourself. Never rely on someone else for approval or happiness.

Accept that there will always be some people who do not like you. There is no way to please everybody.

Know how to recognize the signs of a toxic interpersonal relationship and get out early.

When you feel you are at the end of your rope, pray. Ask for strength, guidance, peace, etc. Fear of God striking you down is a lame excuse for not praying. If you come to God with an honest heart, he will forgive you.

Learn to forgive anyone who wronged you, no matter how egregious his/her trespass was.

Recognize when you need mental and/or spiritual help. Obtain it. Help may be in the form of a mentorship or professional counseling.

Gamification of personal interaction degrades human health. Stay away from any "social media" game that entices you to play more, otherwise you will be fodder for data mining and lose a sense of true friendship in the process.

"You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." – Zig Ziglar

"Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night." – Zig Ziglar

Recurring meditation to self: "Every day, I get a little stronger, a little smarter, and a little wiser."