My six most notable lessons from the year 2016

It started off on a bad note. With the passing of my father. Everything else took a hard knock after that occurred. On the other hand, it showed a lot of promise — and deliver on those promises it did. Albeit briefly.

2016 has been quite interesting. I have met amazing people, had fun with them, learned truckloads about the world and most importantly, about myself. I got to strengthen my love for writing and speaking and tell stories of my life as I go through it. Nothing centres me like documenting and storytelling does. What also makes me happy is that I got to be present for people in their most difficult times. I give empathy and understanding very well.

Anyway, before you fall sleep, here are a few lessons I took away from the year 2016.

Patience. Wait Out The Storm

I alluded to the struggles this year has brought in the opening. One thing I haven’t said is the benefit they presented. So, as you read this, I am the most calm and level headed person around. And this is because I have had to teach myself to relax even in the face of tumult.

I have had to understand that whatever I do, I cannot quicken the passing of a storm. The best way to deal with it is wait it out. Let it clear up and then proceed with my journey from there.

Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Yet another awesome benefit. I love this because it takes many people a long time to finally be comfortable with themselves and not want to tweak something about them for the benefit of other people. I often hear people say, “Life begins at 40.” What a load of crap! What happens is that at that stage some people are freer to do things they love (even if they piss off other people). They are freer to say things even if they make other people cringe. They are, in short, freer to be themselves.

Life ought to begin whenever you dictate. But then, in our twenties we worry about what others think of us. Only to discover when we are around eighty years of age that they’ve not been paying attention to us at all. What a waste of time.

Never Personalise Rejection

•chuckles• I got rejected so much in 2016 that at some point it stopped hurting. I started taking it with a smile. But I’ll admit to you now, the reason a lot of people are scared of rejection is because it tears you apart. Worse, it makes you go on a search for faults on you that validate why you were rejected. So then, you you stop being your own biggest cheerleader. Confidence dwindles. Doubt settles in and takes over.

Through the experiences I’ve had, I am glad I am over that. If I apply, say, for a work opportunity and get rejected, I go, “Oh well, what a loss for them!” Not because I want to make myself feel better. But because I genuinely understand and believe I am talented, intelligent and rare.

So, teach yourself to never personalise and let rejection define you.

Document. Don’t Create

I learned this from entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk. He has the theory that as you build your personal brand, you need to document your journey going through it. And avoid “creating” the content. Tell the story of your life, hustle, whatever else you want to be known for.

This has had tremendous impact in my work. I now tell my story much more frequently and have diversified it into video and podcasting. When I feel like sharing something, I whip out my phone and start talking into it to make a video or voice recording.

The biggest problem I once faced was waiting to create one “perfect” piece of content through which I might create my big break.

Here’s an example that will better explain this concept: You’re a singer. You’re amazing at what you do but you’re waiting to have professional equipment so you can film a documentary that will get you noticed. Instead of using your phone and asking friends to record your singing sessions and upload those videos on your online platforms. Don’t use not having expensive gear as an excuse. You don’t need it to start.

Start documenting your everyday experiences today. Don’t wait for the perfect time to storytell.

Pull In Opposite Directions

Thinking about and being practical. This is the ability to be a big dreamer, think outside the proverbial box and still be able to maintain practicality.

It’s understanding that a lot of things aren’t open and shut cases. There are nuances that define situations and experiences but aren’t necessarily easy to understand. Although you can’t explain them, they’re still significant. This has allowed me to be comfortable with changing my mind regularly and at times, contradict myself.

This is the mark of an intelligent mind that’s able to make a decision now, as things stand, and change course in light of new circumstances. And not allowing inertia and being romantic about “how things were yesterday”.

And you know, I am interested in knowing what some of your lessons have been in 2016. Good or bad, please share and let’s have a conversation while we get set for this new year 🙂

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