The week before last I had a conversation with an old friend about the upcoming year.
He asked me: “Do you think 2023 will be better or worse than 2022?”
It was an interesting question, posed from a place of reticence and uncertainty on his part. And I understood why.
Since early 2020, all of we humans have been traveling a road together that has been filled with unpredictability. The pandemic was supposed to last just a few short days.
I think we all remember “15 Days to Slow the Spread.” And we all know how that turned out.
Something about his question struck me as incomplete though. After giving it some further thought, I recognized a fundamental problem at the heart of it.
I answered him without thinking any further:
“None of us know what 2023 is going to hold, at least in a macro sense. That said, each of us gets to decide what 2023 will be like for us, in a micro sense.”
This particular friend majored in Economics, so I knew drawing this parallel would make sense to him.
Microeconomics is defined as: “The part of economics concerned with single factors and the effects of individual decisions.”
Out of that entire definition, the most important two words are “Individual Decisions“.
None of us have the power to control the entire economy and certainly not an entire year. 2023 will be what it will be.
There may be feast. There may be famine – in a macro sense. No single one of us can control that.
What we can do is control our individual decisions. We can choose, through sheer force of will, to forge 2023 into an incredible year for ourselves and the people we choose to have around us.
From the age of 15, I have focused an immense amount of my time and energy on what I can control and largely ignored everything I can not control. This way of living life has allowed me to do well at nearly all times, regardless of the macro.
When I see something bad happening in the world, I simply say to myself: “I won’t be participating in that.”
And then I don’t. Instead, I forge my world into what I want it to be, taking as many of my friends along for the ride as I am able.
In my opinion, this is the only proper way to live.
We must continually meet life’s challenges with an aggressive sense of self aware optimism.
I don’t know if you consider yourself an optimist, a pessimist or something else entirely. If you don’t consider yourself to be an optimist, let me share a quote from the late Winston Churchill.
If this single quote doesn’t convince you to be an optimist and focus on what you can control, nothing will.
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
It was that way of thinking that helped Winston Churchill lead Britain to victory in the Second World War.
And here’s the thing…
Whatever it is that you are facing ahead, whatever it is you have at stake, I can virtually guarantee that the gravity of it pales in comparison to what would have happened if Germany had won.
Our world would look entirely different than it does today – that much is certain.
What will your world look like in 2023? Only you can truly decide that.
Instead of buying into the pessimism that the mass media is pushing and peddling, choose to be an optimist and focus on what you can control.
And surround yourself with others who choose to do the same.
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