One of the advantages of a year winding down and another one starting is that it forces the cycle on us. Your life is a cycle. You are alive because the cells in your body perform very specific tasks following biochemical cycles. At a higher level within yourself, a battery of skills and a mind with a purpose align their gears and provide a mechanism to transmit the potential each of them has separately, converting its sum into valuable action. The only way to increase the value transmitted is to nurture the skills and the mind, through learning. The end of the year, hopefully for you, will bring about a few days in which you will be able to engage in activities that will increase your skills and feed your mind. This is your time to learn.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to isolate yourself and turn into a geek when everybody else is enjoying the holidays and expecting you to enjoy the season with them. You could engage in a lot of learning making time for a good heart to heart conversation with an elder relative you don’t get to see often, or a high school friend with who you just re-connected. Ask them a lot of questions and be ready to listen. The collective wisdom accumulated through years of experience from the people in our networks is approachable only if you tap it. You will learn a lot from playing games with the little ones in your extended family during their holiday vacations. They will shine a light for you on human behavior, and unblemished innocence. They will take you back to the time when you were most creative in your life, and perhaps you may reclaim some of the spark you may have lost due to numbing from rote schooling or meaningless routines. You will learn a lot from introspectively analyzing your daily activities and life efforts during this special time of the year when a lot of people are in their best dispositions to reunite, celebrate, share and give of themselves.
If you are an active entrepreneur, or trying to tackle an entrepreneurial project, use this time to analyze your progress and see what you can learn to improve it. Be mindful of the learning disabilities that keep us from being wisdom sponges. There’s a few, and they have been extensively studied and presented in the business and academic community. Be mindful of the illusion of taking charge, thinking that reacting is the same as being proactive. Beware of the isolating arrogance of sitting proudly in your position, where you are so focused on what you must do and what you think your responsibilities are, that you miss out on the interconnectedness of it all, of us all, and the bigger picture at hand. Avoid by this getting complacently stuck and missing out on the potential upside. Stay clear of the all too common emphasis on short term events that stall you, which you believe you can work around and explain, and you think are happenstance. Instead try to discern the pattern brought about by the longer-term circumstances surrounding you that you may be oblivious to and may be what is hampering your progress. When relying on others, run away from narrowly skilled experts, which many tend to celebrate and who present themselves as always having the solution. What you want to attain is personal mastery, and what these experts will offer you many times is skilled incompetence. Personal mastery is obtained through expanding skillsets and higher levels of proficiency, and these are attained through wide exposure and the right human interaction collisions.
When taking it all in, if you are not where you want to be, don’t blame others. Take responsibility, make it your resolution to understand better the complex surroundings where you operate, and do operate in them consciously, in the daily laboratory of your entrepreneurial life, while at the same time observing yourself operate from above. Live, grow, ponder, adjust course and then go back to live – get in the cycle.