Before we get started on the main idea, perhaps we should take just a few minutes to acknowledge all the ways you benefited from the pandemic we are still finding our way through. Yes, yes, I know: “What benefits, Iannarino?” Be patient, and stay with me here.
You know how you always wanted to spend more time at home and less time traveling to and from your office? This year, you’ve spent more time at home than you ever imagined possible—months and months of basically uninterrupted time with some part of your family. If you’re not grateful for anything else about that setup, be glad that your crazy Uncle Enrico lives in New Jersey and wasn’t quarantined with you, allowing you to mostly avoid his crazy conspiracy theories.
The meals that you have shared with your family were mostly cooked at home, and even the takeout was from local restaurants where your support helped keep the lights on. You ate a good many of these meals at your kitchen table, and you spent more time talking with your immediate family. And when you weren’t doing that, you made calls to other people you love and care about, to make sure they were okay. You caught up with old friends on video chat, making sure they were holding up.
The severity of COVID-19 may have caused you to take your health–and the health of your loved ones–more seriously than you had before. You might be eating better, exercising more, and taking supplements to boost your immune system, and you might feel better than you’ve felt in a long time.
In any experience with a downside, there is also an upside—in fact, sometimes we can’t recognize the upside until we experience the downside. Like a coin, reality always has two sides, and it’s up to you how you frame your experiences. My choice is always made from the mindset of the Hydra, believing that every bit of adversity only increases my strength.
As a practice, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I make a point of starting new habits or initiatives before January 1st. I started blogging daily on December 28th, mainly because most people make promises to themselves on January 1st and typically set about breaking them within 72 hours. Granted, associating failure (or success) with the date of the promise makes no sense at all, but you have your superstitions and I have mine. There is, however, something magical about a New Year. You may not know where Earth is in relation to the sun, but you know for sure we will begin another trip on the first day of our calendar, having completed the last trip. This new voyage offers the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself.
The first decision you need to make is whether you are going for a new version of yourself or just an upgrade. Perhaps you need an entirely new operating system this year, launching Anthony 4.0, or maybe your last reboot went well so you just need to run Anthony 4.1 next year. Either way, don’t start the new year without a concrete plan for who you are going to be in 2021.
The Person That Comes After the Person You Are Now
Of all the ideas that might consume your time and energy, keep this one front and center: you are always becoming the person who comes after the person you are now. To structure that reinvention, consider three categories of change. The first is what you need to eliminate, the second is what you need to add, and the third is what you need to multiply.
Via Negativa – One of the very best ways to reinvent yourself is to decide what you are going to subtract from your life. Maybe it’s a negative mindset, like being ungrateful for all the gifts that make up your life. What do you need to eliminate to become the person who comes after the one you are now?
New Beliefs and Actions: Your reinvention also requires addition. Think about the person you want to become. What does that person believe that the current version doesn’t believe? What does the next version routinely do that the current version avoids? I recently told a group of people that we are all being programmed by what we consume. The best decision you can make is to become your own programmer.
Multiply: We subtract before we add, and then we multiply. Not everything about the person you are now needs to change. Maybe in some areas, you need to turn 180 degrees and start doing the opposite of what you do now. But it’s more likely that you need to make a forty-five-degree turn, increasing your commitment and your actions. What do you need to do more of to bring the next version of yourself to life?
I Know a Lot of Things
“I know a lot of things, but I don’t know a lot of other things. You gotta stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” – John Mellencamp
Wherever you are now, whatever you are doing, you are still nowhere near what you are capable of becoming. You have untapped potential that you cannot activate until you decide to let go of who you are now. The only way nature makes a butterfly is by killing a cute, fuzzy little caterpillar. What are you willing to sacrifice to be who you must become?
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