...learn from it.
Firstly as writer owner creator of Matter Athletica I would like to wish everyone a Happy new year and welcome to 2021. This year rain hail or shine, no doubt promises to be a big one for every considering what we all went through last year.
I want to start out but putting something to you, something crazy, something a lot of people will argue against or perhaps straight out disagree with. That is totally fine by the way its part of expressing ideas... What if, 2020 wasn’t as bad as we all thought? What if its simply our pre-wired arbitrary perspective that determined how we saw 2020 and made us believe it sucked. Because that’s what we had convinced our selves of...
Hear me out on this aspect -
This is not to say tragic terrible things didn’t happen over the last year, I mean we can reflect on that for days.. Bush fires, global pandemics, trade-sanctions and military hostilities, social restrictions and economic collapse for markets across the world. In agreement of ALL of these things, what if we may need to adjust what it is we are looking for and why it wasn’t that bad?
Consider that, the brain can only take in so much information, it can only handle so much stimuli at any given moment, that we have to filter what we take in and retain. Now, the brain is not going to consolidate information we don’t deem or value important, that’s illogical. What it does, is find things we are emotionally, mentally and consciously considering to be important and helping us convert it. Besides the nitty gritty of that information, think about how you were perceiving the world throughout 2020. All we saw was negatives, hate, separation and isolation. We were re-enforced through social media about how bad things were and how shit we must all feel. Infact posts not conforming to the negative trends were being less liked and viewed as It seemed others did not want to engage with someone acting or living positively.
We Built Topic Driven Echo Chambers
With this sort of echoing behavior it was now almost impossible not to start seeing the world in a grey and dreary miserable way. But that didn’t have to be the case.
What would happen if we did start engaging with those positive people more, we did start shifting our thoughts and mindsets, what if life started happening FOR us not TO us?? I have grown a profound love for the stoics and their philosophy, the idea of controlling only what is within your control and wasting energy not on things outside your means but rather doubling down on the things that are within.
Consider the Impact of the Negatives -
Consider all those negatives I put forward across 2020, how much stress and anxiety it must have caused you or your family or loved ones, the pressure we were put under, the social obligations of health and prevention. Now take into account there was not a single thing you could do about those problems except partake to the best of your ability and live within your interest. Was there any point stimulating that sympathetic part of the stress system all year for things you couldn’t control? It doesn’t make sense to put your body under such immense pressure for no beneficial reason.
Instead, having recognised this, last year offers us the perfect chance. Chances for reflection, evaluation, self-auditing and re-direction. Perhaps by being honest with ourselves; we can see what we actually did have power over and perhaps didn’t take full control of. Were you controlling your food intake during isolation? Did you get the recommend walks outside like they asked? were you actually studying at home or playing Sony during lectures? Perhaps you watched more tv than you did work on your reports or assessments?
We cant deem a whole year a write off when we didn’t actually give it the full effort it deserved and demanded. Yes it was more challenging, but they are challenges not brick walls. We are meant to overcome them.
Jumping on the Trends
One of the trends I noticed coming to the end of the year was this idea 2021 would simply 'wash away' all the bad and life would be warm and cuddly again. People begging for 2020 to be over and come to an end as if there was some magical wish waiting to be granted at the stroke of midnight December 31st. The thing is, if we aren’t willing to be honest with ourselves, and make these reflections. Audit our selves and put our effort under microscope, 2021 isn't going to change anything.
I strongly urge everyone and anyone that feels 2020 was a wasted horrible year, to pull out a pad and pen. Start being accountable to your self and really review just how hard you worked for the things you said were taken by covid or restrictions etc. Yes, what's done is done and we cant harbour in the shores of 'what if' for too long, but what we can do, is identify trouble spots, confront our inner subconcious and see what was really holding us back. Was It covid? Was it 2020? Were we not set up for a problem to arise, so at the first sign of trouble we threw in the towel? You have just realised the importance of organised scheduling. Taking time and controlling it best you can. Last year is a huge eye opener for what can be achieved when we master this. Taking control of your day gives you control over your life regardless of interruptions you at least are ready and know whats coming.
Weaknesses can be Strengthening to the Mind
Identifying weakness is actually a strength, it takes strong internal awareness to know what you could do better and if 2020 is as bad as you have felt it was, then there is no better time to reflect on yourself. You have all the tools needed to know where you lack and what can be better.
If we head in to 2021 as if everything happened to us and it was all a catastrophe; playing the victim mentality 'life sucks' card, then we are no better off heading into this year. The joy of hindsight means we don’t have to repeat our behaviors we get to adapt, improve, overcome and be better. That is why I actually enjoyed the year that was 2020.
It allowed me to be real with my self, look long and hard at my goals and how badly I wanted them. What I was willing to do to obtain them and if it was all worth it. When I could answer those questions and it all still pointed to what I was doing; it meant I could break my self down. My effort, my weaknesses, my strengths, my intensity and figure out what to do better. That is the joy and benefit of pressure, it creates diamonds. Even the shittest circumstances have the potential to produce amazing outcomes, infact I would argue most shitty circumstances like last year can produce some pretty amazing things if, like I said at the start, we start shifting how we perceive the world around us. Start looking for the opportunity to be better, start putting yourself in the right places to improve or learn. Because life is chaotic, If you are only banking on the time in life that is 'perfect and happy go lucky you are setting your self up for absolute failure. Life will never be perfect, As the great Seneca once said “ The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their powers when they arrive”.
Take Home Message...
If there is anything you can take away from this read, agree or disagree it's that there is no point living with the negativity of things that you cant control. Take time to reflect on what you did right or wrong in 2020, and set out how you will be better for it next time. Its not weak to know how you dropped the ball, but it is weak to know how you did it and then do it again.