This new year is going to have some terrible moments. Beloved celebrities are going to die. There’ll be natural disasters… and maybe some not natural ones. People will betray you, take things out on you and make your life hell for no reason.
I hope none of this is news to anyone.
And I hope no one sees this as the full story.
Some people will. These things will happen and they’ll say “screw you, 2020!” Just like they did in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and… well, every year as long as this has been a thing.
Don’t hate the year – it’s just minding its own business.
Besides, you’re being wildly ungrateful. 2020 is going to have great moments too. If you choose to focus only on the negative – no matter how bad your year is – then 2021 will be even worse.
A year is like a bag of rocks. No two are alike and it’s pointless to judge one.
Actually, that’s a bad analogy (for so many reasons). It’s not pointless to judge an entire year – it’s downright dangerous.
When something bad happens, your full attention goes to it. It’s called the negativity bias and it kept our ancestors alive. The apple tree over in the distance is worth noticing. But if there’s a hungry wolf between you and it, all your attention should go to the predator.
There’ll be other apple trees but it only takes one savage beast to end you.
You also learn from negative events. If wolves like to hang around apple trees, then you’d better learn to be wary of them. Your ancestors were the ones who didn’t repeat foolish mistakes or ignore threats.
This means how we react to bad news is how we react to everything. If every minor inconvenience sends you spiralling, then you’ll never escape the vortex.
People like this waste so much time and energy on petty drama. Worst of all, they drag other people into their depths.
So what am I saying – be all Pollyanna, no matter what happens? “Oh good, my house is on fire, yay!”
Of course not.
You’re allowed to get pissed off, scared and frustrated. It’s healthy and appropriate to meet bad experiences with negative emotions – that’s why we have them.
It’s a question of how you deal with it all.
If your life is in danger, you could freeze. Or you could run through fire, get everyone clear of the flames and take steps to never let that happen again.
Both are fear responses.
Only one makes you stronger.
This isn’t a question of how smart you are. Intelligence has nothing to do in the moment where there’s no time to think.
Most tests require good instincts in the moment.
The time for thinking is later, when you review what went well and what you’ll do next time.
And this is why 2020 is going to be amazing. I can’t say bad things won’t happen – who could? But I can say you’ll react to them well.
You can take action in the moment and reflect on it after. Every success and obstacle will make you smarter. You’ll access more and more resources inside of you.
Some people face a setback and it breaks them.
Others get on with life, rolling with whatever happens.
You can learn this – just not from a textbook. It isn’t that kind of skill. No, it’s the sort of attitude that naturally emerges when you train your mind in the right way.
Mind training, like physical training, works best with variety, structure, discipline and the right technique.
Just like the training you can find right here: