The other day, I brought in a couple dozen donuts for a meeting we were having at the office. Since it was the first week back to work in the new year, I must admit I was curious about how many of those donuts would get eaten. How resolute would my colleagues be about their New Year’s resolutions?
The opening line of Carly Simon’s 1971 song Anticipation is “We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway.” As I write this, it’s the first day back at work in the new year, and anticipation sums up the way I feel today.
Christmas is less than two weeks away. And as the carol goes, ’tis the season to be jolly. But it’s also the season of giving. Gift giving has long been a tradition associated with Christmas. Whether or not you still believe in Santa Claus, everyone likes to receive gifts. Nothing warms the heart like an unexpected gift.
“Be all that you can be.” For years, that was the recruitment slogan used by the U.S. Army in its advertising. I think most of us would say we want to be all that we can be. We unabashedly claim we want to be the BEST. People don’t claim they want to come in second place or be the runner-up. Nobody wants to settle for anything but being the BEST. We want to be #1.
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
Have you ever had someone encourage you to dream big? Someone who said you could be anything you wanted to be? Maybe you were lucky enough to have a parent or grandparent who convinced you that there are no limits. Or maybe a teacher or coach inspired you to consider opportunities that otherwise might have seemed beyond your grasp. It even may have been a boss or mentor early in your career who helped you see what you were truly capable of.
When the going gets tough, how long does it take for someone to ask, “Who’s to blame for this mess?” Unfortunately, the answer is not very long. We live in a world in which everyone wants to place blame.
In 1987, Michael Jackson released a song titled “Man in the Mirror.” The theme of the song is clear: If you want the world to be different, if you want it to be a better place, the change needs to start with you—the person in the mirror. The song included the lines, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. . . . If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”
We live in a world of “What have you done for me lately?” And when we say “lately,” we mean today or this week. Our society suffers from an acute case of instant gratificationitis. Wall Street wants to see a return on its investment—now! It’s not necessarily concerned about seeing a company being built for the long haul. I bought the stock yesterday; what’s it worth today? Sports fans want to see their team win now. It doesn’t matter if the coach inherited a team with a losing record in desperate need of an overhaul—can you win today? It’s the only thing that matters to impatient fans.
It’s October, which means it’s time for the baseball playoffs. Usually at this time of year, I watch with casual interest as the best teams in the game eliminate one another until the World Series champion is crowned. But not this year. This year, my beloved Chicago Cubs are in the playoffs. They have my full attention. And after winning the wild card playoff against the Pirates and taking the divisional playoff series from their rival St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs are deeper in playoffs than they’ve been in over a decade. Is this year the first time since 1945 that they’ll make it to the World Series?