It’s interesting to me that at the end of the year, people are always interested in your biggest success, or your biggest failure, in the year that’s ending.
They also want to know what you have resolved to do new and better next year.
Everyone wants you to write down your goals, your plans, your dreams, or, in the short term, your New Year’s resolutions.
All of the above is a bunch of hooey UNLESS you have a better understanding of the big picture, or, should I say, your big picture.
Everything you did last year had one of five things occur at the end:
- Great outcome – went way better than planned, and you won.
- Good outcome – went as planned.
- No outcome – still pending, or dropped.
- Bad outcome – went wrong, or lost it.
- Real bad outcome – went way wrong, and died.
And all of those five outcomes carried with them lessons. Lessons of why and how – the lessons you learned before, during, and after you took on any task, made any goal, or took any actions.
And it is those lessons that are the focus of this writing.
It’s also interesting to note that almost nothing you read, or are taught, focuses on these lessons. When in fact, they were, and are, the most valuable part of the achievement process.
The combined lessons you’ve learned up to this point in your life represent what is loosely known as “your experience.” I refer to it as your personal body of knowledge and your personal wealth of knowledge.
Some of that knowledge is very useful. Sales made, sales lost, goals achieved, goals unmet, relationships that succeeded, relationships that failed, all of your emotional encounters, and all of your economic transactions. To each one of those elements big and small, there is tied a lesson that you hold on to for next time. And those lessons will trigger a response in your mind the next time you encounter the same, or a similar, situation. It will trigger a response like: do this, or don’t do this, or have other people help me do this. And there’s also the desire factor: I want to do this, or I don’t want to do this.
And there are the non-achievement actions that you took and the lessons that you learned (or didn’t learn) like: watching television, keeping up with politics, watching the evening news, and other expenditures of time that you would be hard pressed to cite one lesson from the hundreds of hours you wasted.
Non-achievement is a lesson all by itself.
Achievement and non-achievement are just a small part of the learning process. It’s not as important to know that you achieved the goal or made the sale – rather HOW you achieved it, and the knowledge you gained that will get you to the next achievement.
It’s not simply the lesson that you learned. Rather, it is the lesson learned combined with your response to that lesson…
- What outcome were you expecting?
- What outcome did you get?
- What did you learn as a result of that?
- What did you do about it?
- What are you going to do about it next time?
If you achieved something, that is called an event. When you learn a lesson from that achievement, that’s called knowledge. And it is that knowledge that will carry you forward in life.
It’s okay to celebrate achievement and revel in victory, but that’s just a reflection of where you are at this moment. The wisdom you gained and the associated lessons learned are what will get you to tomorrow.
Focus on that as you “leap” into the new year.