This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The first chapter of Mitch Albom‟s bestseller, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, is titled „The End‟. A strange title for the beginning of a book but as Albom explains: “all endings are also beginnings. We just don‟t know it at the time.” And so it is for us as we step into a new year, leaving behind the previous year with all its memories and regrets, success stories and failures, hopes and fears. A year has ended and with the dawn of another year, we are offered another beginning, a new beginning. I do believe the phrase „new beginning‟ is repetitive as every beginning is new, as it presents us with an opportunity to expand on, experience and examine the unknown. Come with me then, as we explore the many principles one would need to be knowledgeable of in order to make the most of this precious opportunity of a new beginning. Get ready to cross over For every new beginning, three very important advices given to me from the writings of old demand our attention and compliance. The first is the need for preparation. The very fact that what we are about to embark on is something new requires us to do our homework and to acquire all that is necessary to ensure success. Whenever I cook a new dish, how well I prepared before cooking would ultimately determine my success. If I did my homework well, bought all the necessary ingredients and made sure I had all the proper utensils, then cooking a new dish successfully is almost assured. The second advice that pays to be taken into consideration is the need to cross the river in front of us. What does this mean? Many times, when explorers ventured into new territories, they would come across rivers that obstructed their push forward. Creative efforts had to be conjured up to enable them to continue their journey into new lands. In the same way, whenever we begin something new, we will come across obstacles that obstruct us from succeeding. We will have to cross these “rivers” if we are ever to succeed in our new efforts. Creative, out-of-the-box solutions must be found quickly and retreat is not an option. Lastly, we need to be clear of our goals and destination. In every new venture we take, we must be clear of where we are heading and what we desire to achieve. “How do I know I have succeeded?” is a question we must answer before beginning on this journey. I am always reminded of the advice given by the life-improvement gurus concerning goals: they must be measurable by amount and time. For example, this New Year you may want to be healthy. For your goal to be measurable by amount and time it has to state how much you intend to lose (e.g. 10 kilograms) and the length of time you plan to take to accomplish your goal (e.g. 10 months). You can’t do it alone Two other elements are also necessary for success when we begin something new: effort and assistance.
For every new thing we begin, extra effort will be required. For things old, we get into such a familiar routine to the point that we do not need any extra effort – everything is familiar and under control. This scenario changes completely when we step into the unknown – effort and purposeful actions are the fundamentals of the day. They say it takes sixteen days of continuous effort to create a habit and to get something new down to a pat; a continuous effort for a long period of time is a necessity. So keep at it and your new effort will be a success. Whenever we begin something new, we know so little and many a time find ourselves at a lost. The good news is that there are others who have gone before us, who have experienced what we are about to experience and have accomplished what we desire to achieve. It is a wise move to identify and befriend these individuals, seeking their advice and drawing wisdom and instructions from them. We will never be able to accomplish much in life alone but when we surround ourselves with men and women of experience and wisdom, we are safe and secure in our endeavors. Andrew Carnegie said this: It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone. This year, whenever you face challenges, remember to enlist others to help you achieve. And I agree with what Woodrow Wilson said: We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow. Learn to frequently borrow other brains when difficult decisions are to be made, when new ideas are needed and when interesting suggestions are called for. Be strong and courageous Lastly, I believe we need to be strong and courageous when we step into anything fresh and different. I have always wondered how I could produce courage in me and when I found the answer, it was a complete surprise. Again from an ancient manuscript, I learnt that to be courageous I will need to continually encourage myself (By the way, did you know that the word encourage means to be in courage or to fill oneself with courage?). I the asked, “How do I encourage myself?” Positive self-talk and positive thinking! In other words what I think and say to myself will determine whether I turn into a cowering coward or a strong and courageous victor. This year, be aware of what you say to yourself whenever you decide to do something new. Are you your best cheerleader or are you a professional naysayer committed to sabotage effort new effort you seek to do? Also, feed your mind with truths, stories and examples that will strengthen your courage and will. In this way, you are ensuring that you are constantly in-courage. One of the best ways to do this is to read. Be very selective in what you read. Sacred literature, biographies and wise sayings are some of the best books to immerse yourself in. Go ahead; fill your mind with courage! Begin today As you embark on a new adventure this year, take that first step. It may be a tiny, haltering step, but step out you must. When you do, you will realize that your story and the story of others are the same in the end. We are all pilgrims on a new journey every day. Have a great new beginning.