2009 begins as a very challenging year.
The economy is badly damaged. I attended a funeral of a loved one. Friends are suffering from broken relationships and the fear of unemployment. Not the best of times.
I am reminded of the moments I hit rock bottom and the two practical things I did to rise up again. Explore and focus. Explore those things you always wanted to know more about – whether it’s taking up a musical instrument, playing a new sport, or learning a foreign language. Next, focus on something you know you are interested in.
There are three major benefits to exploring and focusing.
Life can be extremely difficult with stress and grief. Escape from these overwhelming circumstances by exploring something fresh. Once your focus is on to something intriguing, stay there for a little while. Escapsim is not meant to avoid or deny your problems – rather, your escapism should help you calm down, rationalize and ultimately resolve a very difficult reality.
Passion to learn and practice boosts your productivity. There is so much we don’t know in our lives – the whats, hows, wheres and whys. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to recognize and perfect the unknown? Focus on a hobby and you will develop fulfillment in something, even if temporary. Focus on a skillset and you will have the potential to enhance your career. Focus on knowledge and you will empower yourself to connect and better understand others.
- Sharing Life with Those Who Can Help You Most
As you escape and progress in your area of interest, you will come across wonderful individuals who share the same passions. These people are in tune and experienced to what you are seeking and because they share the same goals, they will most likely support you to succeed. Ultimately, you will find yourself united and integrated with a community that helps you appreciate what you enjoy most.
When I failed the California bar exam for the second time and remained unemployed for several months, I needed to explore and focus. I discovered Lynda.com and was introduced to the world of graphic design. After a month of training and experimenting, I developed a portfolio with powerful applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. A week later, I landed my current employment! Best yet, today, I still use Lynda.com (certainly helps when your employer pays for the service) to enhance the quality of my work. Not only can I produce meaningful art and effective designs, I network with other professionals who can aid and inspire me to improve.
In the end, my faith tells me that everything happens for a good reason, despite the dreadful circumstances. Perhaps we are meant to experience such moments to mature into something far greater and stronger than we ever imagined. And when we don’t see any hope, I often read this simple yet profound message:
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
– Kahlil Gibran
This year requires exploration and focus but seriously consider what you will accomplish once you start. I sense much joy ahead.