While doing some routine computer updates to kick off my year, I managed to wipe out my entire calendar. Not only did I release my bygones from 2013 and before, I truly start 2014 with an open book. Actually, a completely empty book.
This was definitely not planned, but the realization of what happened is having the effect of a cathartic, freeing experience. It has caused me to focus on what is really important. Maybe this was a gift to help me clarify my priorities, to stop me from merely setting a schedule.
As an explorer I have conditioned myself to take note of these kinds of situations and ask, “What can I learn here?” Sometimes things happen that you have no control over. It messes up your day, changes your direction or causes you to realign your business. And through it the distinctions between what is important versus unimportant gain clarity. The “dross” is burned away and the refined “gold” is left behind, and through observing each, understanding is gained for what is next.
I've always admired the perseverance of Thomas Edison. He tried out over 1000 different filament options for the electric light bulb before he got the right one. I'm sure he never tested one saying, “This is not going to work, but I am going to try it anyway.” Each test was seen to be a possibility until it wasn’t anymore. Negative findings were not seen as failure, rather opportunities for learned knowledge. Edison’s notebooks are filled with the stories of unexpected discovery from findings that were not anticipated. He learned from what was planned, and he also learned from what was unplanned.
If we could truly wipe the slate clean and start truly fresh each year, it’s hard telling what new discoveries might be found. We would learn from what we have done and also from what we left undone.
Here’s my explorer advice to begin 2014:
1. Clean the slate of the “dross” from the past. 2. Identify and define your priorities going forward. 3. Lighten the load for the journey forward.