“A new you can still emerge from the old you.” Bamigboye Olurotimi
As we round the last corner and 2016 begins to come into focus many of you might be thinking about making new years resolutions and changing. I have a suggestion for 2016 – just do you.
The earliest recorded festivities in honor of New Year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. The Babylonians marked the occasion with a massive religious festival and made promises to their gods at the start of each year. Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake, Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future, and to whom the Romans made promises to at the beginning of each year.
Millennia’s later we are collectively still making the same empty promises to change. But in every moment of everyday we’re changing and evolving and growing. In every moment, we’re reconstructing our identity. We’re not defined by our decisions from two years ago. We’re not even defined by our decisions from two minutes ago. We’re defined by whom we choose to be in this very moment. We have this myth of identity — that who we are is the summation of a lot of choices we made in the past. That we’ve got a map for the life we’re supposed to lead, and we’ve got to stick to it. But that’s assuming that we’re all static beings, and that’s not how people work. We’ll never be “figured out.” Over the course of our lives, we’ll constantly be transforming into a more and more authentic version of ourselves.
Each of us is rare. Being unique is the spirit that already resides in us, the inner intention, primary style and way of being that makes us true individuals regardless, of the pressure to conform to temporary social patterns and contemporary cultural fashions. At the individual level, each person is here to give something that is not just unusual, not only exceptional, but that is distinctive and divine.
This year I hope you find moments of peace and your inner uniqueness for life aspires you to do meaningful work and discover genuine purpose. That you have the courage to undertake the seemingly impossible tasks of transforming culture and helping to heal the world. Not because the world can be saved or redeemed in a hurry, but because it is the impossibility of the great problems and projects of life that awakens the sleeping uniqueness within and changes work from a simple job to a life-long, life-enhancing project. And that serves the dignity and nobility of one’s soul as well as the well-being of one’s community. I hope you experience good health, that you are kissed by fortune, treated kindly by fate, that you jump high, and fall slow, and that all your landings are gentle. But mostly I hope that you are encouraged to recognize and embrace your inner and exceptional uniqueness.