Happy New Year!

This year for Christmas, my two-year old grandson got a toy school bus.  It has an open roof, and little wooden cut-outs of “people” who can ride in the bus.  What was discovered, however, is that if you push down on the toy and roll it backwards a bit, the mechanism in the bus propels it forward!

In the spirit of that toy, let’s pull backward a little bit and examined what I’ve learned in 2023 before “getting after it” in 2024 tomorrow.  I began this tradition a number of years ago in the spirit of being a life-long learner, and it’s helped me to become a trendspotter.  Reflection allows us to then do one of five things:

  • Maintain what we’ve been doing;
  • Increase what we’ve been doing;
  • Decrease what we’ve been doing;
  • Stop what we’ve been doing; or
  • Start doing something new.

It’s interesting to note that if you’re going to do the second, third, fouth or fifth of those thing, you actually need to do 2 of the things on the list.

If all you do is keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting.  Actually, you’ll get less, since the law of diminishing returns states that the more effort you put into a current practice, the fewer results you’ll get.

While this year’s list isn’t very complimentary, I’m sure you’ll agree with at least several of these observations.

    • People don’t read.  How ironic that you’re reading this.  People today want to see videos – they don’t want to read instructions.  And if something has a lot of text with not a lot of white space, it will be met with the most annoying hashtag ever – TL/DR.  Too long/didn’t read.  Our “soundbites” society and penchant for “Headline News” has trained people to glance at the headline and the first few lines of the article, and then they believe they’re read enough.  However, since writing today is taught to offer a particular “spin” rather than just reporting the facts, the real message is usually buried several paragraphs into the manuscript in the spirit of “storytelling.”  Storytelling is great when you want to teach a lesson.  In journalism, however, it’s called “burying the lead.”  Want to know more?  Let’s see if there’s anything about it on YouTube.
    • People don’t listen.  And, if they do, very few listen for understanding; they listen in order to respond.  If someone shares a situation, their story will be met with another similar situation by the person they’re conversing with.  People also don’t want to listen to speeches, but they will listen to podcasts.  Why?  Podcasts align with what interests them.  Most other things that should be listened to are rules or guidelines, and then people will hear what they want to hear.
    • People expect technology to do their work and work the way they expect it to work, rather than realizing they need to change their habits if they want to become more productive, and maintain security and compliance.  I probably don’t have to go into detail about this one, since many times, I have the same expectations, and get frustrated with things like 2 Factor Authentication (2FA), which means I now need to have my cell phone with me whenever I’m on a computer and need to access a program.
    • People expect immediate results.  I like to call these things, “miracles.”  I can’t do them…but I know a guy who did.
    • People need time and guidance to be able to change since we’re in an era of perpetual change, but, unfortunately, they don’t have the time to take steps to enable change.  Change happens. And if we’ve learned anything over the past three years, it’s that we need to expect the unexpected and be prepared for it.  For those of us that observe the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas, we just heard about that in the Sunday readings this past month.  And, as we’ve seen in the news, there are many times that we cannot control the situations we suddenly find ourselves in.  Because it’s difficult to take time to reflect, reconsider, and open our heart to what we’re being called to do, we just “keep busy,” rather than not just taking, but making time for what really matters.

May we all be blessed with a safe, healthy and peaceful 2024.  It’s what we can pray for.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2008-2024 (Original Publication Date: 20240101)