See differently to live differently

Have 2020 vision for a fulfilling new year

Yes, I am one of those who makes new year’s resolutions. Who’s with me?

I relish the sense of refreshing and hope that comes with a new year. I feel sure that these ‘self-promises’ reflect our longing to improve, to create a more contented life for ourselves, those we love, and those whose lives we can touch positively. The goal may be to lose those five kilograms (or 10!), sign up for a course of learning, or be a better friend – whatever it is, it sets an expectation of a better year.

I know that many people pooh-pooh this habit, mostly because we so often fail to sustain our resolve. Check your inbox and you’ll find any number of articles suggesting ways to stick to our intentions: create small steps, write it down, form an accountability group.

It seems to me, though, that 2020 lends itself to the notion of fresh vision – and if we want an improved life, a renewed view of ourselves, our relationships and the world can be freeing and empowering.

Change your view

Professor Adam Brandenburger, in a Harvard Business Review article, encourages us to ‘defamiliarise’ our way of seeing – “to stop seeing the world in the familiar way and start seeing it in unfamiliar and generative ways”.

He expands: “When we look at the world, we should not just examine, but examine with a deliberately different perspective. Not just name what is around us, but come up with new names. Not just consider the whole, but break things up (or down) into pieces. These techniques can help us see our way to the new and revolutionary”.

How does this new habit help us create a meaningful life?

Avid birdwatchers, or regular bush trekkers understand Branderburger’s advice: taking that moment to enjoy, not only identify the bird, but admiring its colour, its wing formation, its song, makes that moment beautiful.

Consider those things you take for granted, that are now ‘habituated’ and live in our peripheral vision. This applies to our relationships, work, hobbies, and daily rituals.

He urges us to counter our built-in tendency to habituate, to sink into familiar ways of seeing and experiencing.

“One way in which great artists, entrepreneurs, and creators of all kinds come up with the insights that enable them to change the world is that, very literally, they do not see the way that most of us do. By seeing differently, we can end up seeing what no-one else has yet seen. That is how the future is built,” he concludes.

Your year of seeing differently

So, what will you see differently this year? What needs renaming in your world?

A starting point for me is to change the term “new year’s resolutions” to “steps in making personal progress” – it has a much more active ring to it!

How can you redefine ‘success’ to encourage self-acceptance and gratitude?

I love Arianna Huffington’s thoughts in her book Thrive:

We now know through the latest scientific findings that if we worship money, we’ll never feel truly abundant. If we worship power, recognition and fame, we’ll never feel we have enough. And if we live our lives madly rushing around, trying to find and save time, we’ll always find ourselves living in a time famine, frazzled and stressed.

There’s a collective longing to stop living in the shallows, to stop hurting our health and our relationships by striving so relentlessly after success as the world defines it — and instead tap into the riches, joy and amazing possibilities our lives embody.

Finally, I am recognising that much of the contentment I seek is what I already have; it’s just having the eyes to see it – faith, hope and love. I take the words of Thomas Merton, monk, scholar and social activist. I hope they will serve you also for fresh vision in 2020:

We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we slow down and be still, it will make itself known to us.

Kim Forbes is the Writer and a Life Coach at Chartered Wealth Solutions.

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