“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous”
At the end of each year, I try to make it a habit to reflect personally and professionally over the past year. Needless to say, 2020 is a year unlike any other. Life has definitely not been the same this year, which means there is much to reflect on and much to learn. The quote from Confucius at the beginning of this post is one that should be taken to heart. I encourage you to take a reflection inventory of your year, but don’t stop there. Learn as much as you can, change what needs to be changed, bolster what needs to be supported, and let go of what shouldn’t matter. No matter how hard or challenging 2020 might have been, there is something that can be learned.
A personal note before I begin: These are my reflections that are focused on my personal and professional life. By no means am I saying that my reflection should be yours. I believe you should take inventory of your own work and your own life and determine what your next best move should be. I invite you to message me or comment what your reflections have led you to learn this year.
Humanity has lost the art of love and respect. Throughout this year, I have seen humanity forget the power and importance of loving one another and respecting each other. Whether it’s politically driven or fear driven, people tend to overstep their boundaries. Politics and fear bring out the ugliness within humanity. We have turned into a society hell bent on control. Instead of “Live and let live,” we have become a society of “Live how I tell you to live.” This is where we have lost respect. Disagreeing has become a war rather than a discussion. Having differing opinions has led to broken relationships rather than the opportunity for collaboration and learning.
What to learn:
Respect is NOT overrated. Respect builds relationships and encourages diversity. Respect is something that should be given no matter the beliefs and opinions of others. Just because I disagree with someone, doesn’t mean I should respect them less. Not everyone will show respect, but that shouldn’t determine if I show respect. What I believe is right should not determine how I treat others. Everyone deserves respect; do your best to give it!
Humility is better than pride. Being willing to listen is better than having something to say. Being willing to learn is better than thinking you’re always right. You are not always right, and being willing to admit this is the first step to personal and professional growth. It’s okay to stay quiet, unless what you have to say is uplifting and encourages others.
Opinions should not determine how I treat other people. Everyone doesn’t have to agree with me, and it would behoove me to listen to others and try and understand their point of view (this will be a challenge). You don’t always need to have something to say, and keep your opinions to yourself unless asked to share them. I may not always be right and being willing to learn is the most important aspect of personal and professional growth.
There is power in being still. A pandemic has shown the importance and need for slowing down. We have become a society of hurry. Taking time to slow down has shown the value of removing excess hurry from our lives. Slowing down encourages time for reflection. It also provides time to learn. The more we rush, the less time we have to learn. Rushing keeps us from growing, learning, reflecting, and changing. Hurry is a force that leaves us with nothing. Taking time to “stop and smell the roses” is not just a saying, but one that has merit. The more we hurry, the more we miss. Slowing down relieves anxiety, stress, worry, and weariness. Slowing down is good for the heart, mind, and soul.
What to learn:
Take time and be still. Carve out time in your schedule for quiet. Do not allow the rush and hurry of work, friends, appointments, or what have you to keep you from being still. When you are still, take time to reflect and learn. Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn. Being still gives us the opportunity to read. Reading opens our minds to new things and gives us ideas to learn and consider. Set a goal to read one book a month, as we know that you are a slow reader. Practice the art of being still.
Social media is not what it’s cracked up to be. I have seen more hate speech on social media this year alone than I have in the past. Social media has too much influence on our lives and has caused us to become a society of opinions and haters. Social media has taught us that speaking up is good, but being challenged is hate speech. In truth, speaking up is good, and being challenged is needed for growth. When someone can post their opinion about a topic, but then blocks people and refuses to have a conversation about that opinion, nothing good has come of the post. Social media affirms feelings and allows users to ignore facts. Social media gives a platform for agendas, movements, and vendettas. I have seen nothing good come from nearly every social media platform.
What to learn:
Remove social media from your life and learn to communicate properly. Have conversations that are meaningful and worthwhile. This kind of goes back to my first reflection; just because you have something to say doesn’t mean you need to say it, post it, or whatever. Now, you could argue that your blog is doing just what you said not to do, and to that I say, my blog is not meant to tear down, destroy, or force an agenda. My blog is meant to encourage, challenge, support and bring to light some truths that are quickly being forgotten. There is more to life than scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or whatever platform that suits your fancy. Go do something important. Go read, spend time with family, children, or friends. Go for a walk. Take care of your health. Stay away from the drama and be more mindful on how you spend your time.
Fear hinders progress and growth. It has been amazing to see how much fear has changed society. Fear has created entitlement, shaming, disrespect, and destruction. Fear has created a society of haters and manipulators. Fear preys on the weak minded and weak of character. Fear has raised up warriors of destruction and malice. Fear breeds ignorance. 2020 has been a year filled with fear, and there is nothing good that has come from it. There is much to learn when reflecting on the fear of this year.
What to learn:
Fear has no place in your world. Fear is the opposite of humility, open mindedness, and learning. Fear hinders growth. Fear destroys all that is good in the name of nothing good. Fear nothing, and instead do your best to understand. We usually fear what we do not know or understand. Seek to understand. Be open minded. President Roosevelt was right when he said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” There is nothing to fear, but everything to learn.
Come back to these reflections often. Do not just write them once and tuck them away. Remember what you need to learn and how you need to grow. Be honest, be real, be courageous, be strong, be humble, and most of all strive for selflessness. Let your character be the topic of conversations in such a way that people speak only of what is good. Hold yourself to high standards, but do not allow yourself to become haughty. Be meek and humble in all you do. Learn to be still and speak only when needed. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.