Monday, December 29, 2008

Remember all the good stuff as you end the year

Humanity tends to focus on people's faults. We often talk about what a leader didn't do, instead of acknowledging the good things a leader was able to accomplish. The media almost always will pick, sometimes nitpick, on what an individual, group, or nation did wrong.

Looking for faults has a benefit as we then know what areas we can improve on; however, it can also be discouraging if all we ever talk about or think about is what is wrong. Once we are aware of problems, we can take steps to improve, but we shouldn't spend all or time worrying about what we did wrong.

I've been attending a local Toastmasters group for four years now. They always give evaluations on each speech. The goal is to help the speaker improve. They review the points of the speech that went well, and then each evaluator looks for ways the speaker could do a better job next time.

The year 2008 is coming to a close. It is a good time to step back and think about both what areas we could improve in, and what areas we are doing well in. There is always something we can improve. Maybe we could spend more time with a child on their math, or maybe we could let the child have more time to play. As an engineer I like rules and formulas that don't change. But the reality is our children change over time. What worked well when they were six may not work at all now that they are twelve.

I was pleasantly surprised this last week. My oldest daughter was upset about something. She made a historical allusion to events that took place around the Revolutionary War. She said it wasn't fair, like how after the war the British got to use all of our ports, but we weren't welcome in all of their ports. I count this as a major success. My daughter in integrating a historical view into the rest of her life!

As you build goals for 2009, it is OK to look for areas you can improve in, but also remember to focus on and pay attention to all the good things that have happened in 2008.

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