Happy New Year!

I recently visited a store where this quote was on the wall behind the sales counter: “Experience is a hard teacher for it gives you the test first and the lesson later!” 

As we begin another year, like most of you I find myself saying, “Where has the time gone?” It’s not only 2010 that has disappeared so fast but a whole decade! As I do look back, we began the 21st century paranoid about the disruption to our world from a possible computer breach brought on by what the techies called “Y2K”. But it never happened! Then we ended the decade paranoid about the disruption to our world from a possible economic collapse which was called the “great recession”. But that massive worldwide disruption never happened! In between those ten years, how many things were we worried about that never happened to the extent we thought they would? Or even if we look at the things that did happen that caused us fear and anxiety, how many of those things did we overcome and leave behind us? No doubt we all can quote so many examples. Why then do we worry so much about tomorrow? Why do we allow our fears to prevent us from having a full and abundant life?

I added a few extra vacation days to the holidays in order to relax after a busy schedule. I was really interested in seeing the movie “The King’s Speech” after hearing so many good reviews about it. The movie was a great lesson in how we allow our fears to paralyze us and rob us of the enormous opportunity to contribute to and receive from what life has to offer. But it was also a great lesson that with the support of family and friends, discipline and training, those fears can be replaced with drive and motivation to be the people we are capable of becoming regardless. How King George was able to overcome his fears and deliver the King’s Speech was itself very motivating but the actual content of the “King’s Speech” was equally as uplifting. You’ll have to see it yourself, if you haven’t already, to know what I mean.

I sometimes wonder why the New Year calendar begins with the first full month of winter, itself a cold and dreary time of year especially since it follows a month of excitement and celebration. The winter can be a tough season to endure. But then I realize I missed an important truth. If I can not only get through but turn January into a month of excitement rather than a time of resentment, how much more wonderful will spring and summer be!

Inspired by Jim Rohn’s The Art of Exceptional Living, just like there are four seasons, there are four lessons that are crucial to your life. By becoming aware of them, learning from them, and applying them, there is no doubt that you will craft a very fulfilling life (authored by Frederic Premji).

Handle the Winters
Every year, winter comes. It always comes. We deal with it by preparing for it. Whether it’s changing our clothing or changing our way of life, we always get ready for winter; because we know it’s coming. The same applies to your life. Rough times WILL come. No life goes smoothly without a problem from beginning to end. Thus, you have to be ready for it, for when it does come, you are not stuck in the cold without a coat. Be ready to handle the winters in your own life.

Take Advantage of the Spring
Every year, after a long winter, comes the spring. This is a time where opportunities arise. Flowers blossom and creatures come out of their hibernation. The same thing applies within your life. After a challenging time, you will be faced with a great opportunity. It is your duty to take full advantage of the spring when it pops up. This is your moment to plant the seeds of greatness to come. You will never see all the beauty that is in life and in nature on this planet if nature decided not to awaken one year in the spring! It does though because it is meant to do so. Hold your own existence to that same standard. Make your springs the springboard to getting where you want to go.

Protect Your Summer
After having planted your seeds in the spring, soon the summer will come. This is a time where you can reap the benefits of your crops. As well as being a time of joy and comfort, it is also a time to be careful. As Jim Rohn points out, “all good will be attacked”. If you are not careful, your crops will be either stolen, destroyed, or spoiled. Therefore you must do whatever it takes to protect your crops. Once you have achieved something in your life, you must defend it. You must stand up for it, and protect its value. Otherwise you may find yourself losing it.

Take Responsibility in the Fall
As the autumn comes, the trees change color, lose their leaves, and the weather gets cooler. As you gear up for another winter, it is the best time to take full responsibility of what happened in the previous seasons, both good and bad. This is the time where you can open yourself to learning the lessons that the previous seasons taught you and put everything into perspective. They say that the fall is the time of the year where there is more depression than any other time. This is due to people not taking such responsibilities and learning from previous successes and/or mistakes. Only by doing so can you be ready once more to handle another winter that is coming, and plan for the following spring and summer.

So what season of life are you in? Are you beginning to experience a winter of discouragement blowing like an icy wind through your life? Or do you still feel the exuberance of spring renewal, or the lazy warmth of summer rest? Perhaps the winds of change have brought an autumn of reflection in your life. 

Be determined that through each season of the year, you will learn from your experiences so that you are challenged and encouraged to discover what's truly important in your own life. When the test does come, and it eventually will, you (and I) will be able to pass with honours. That is the secret to abundant living!