I have a chance. While this chance is always open, the new year is an especially good time to jump upon it. It is the chance to start anew. Every moment, we have this chance. We may believe at times that we are stuck in a rut, but we always have the opportunity to get back on track or to take a different path. I choose this moment to wipe the slate clean once again and take advantage of what’s in front of me. Step forward, not step back. This year, I want to become a better person. I have three resolutions: 1) Get it done. 2) Be impetuous. 3) Live in the present.
But first, I want to reflect upon the past year and what lessons I can learn. I had two resolutions from last year: 1) Make every move a killing move. 2) Smile.
I failed pretty miserably at #2. Mostly, I took it to mean smiling more in public, but that resolution fell through quickly. To tell you the truth, I didn’t feel as if I had much to smile about. I’d rather be a happier person than the same person who just smiles more often. So, I’m going to focus more on who I am, than how I appear, at least for now.
#1 didn’t work at all. To understand why, we’ll have to go back one more year, when my one and only resolution was “Seize the day.” I was dissatisfied with that resolution because I felt like I was merely seizing whims. I wanted to be more calculated. My resolution for last year was supposed to refine 2005’s resolution. However, instead, it just led to inaction. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the first place, so how could I “make a killing move”? In the end, this led to a certain contradiction in my desires: to be impetuously deliberate.
I’ve moved to a new mode of thinking. I like to frame things in terms of habit. To be able to make that killing move requires such practice that you can recognize the move when it comes. It’s very difficult to make a killing move in a swordfight if you have no experience swordfighting. To be successful in life requires practice living, so to speak. And it requires upkeep.
Which sort of brings me to resolution #2. (We’re skipping #1 for a second.) I don’t want to seize the day, but I want to re-develop the same sort of habit. I actually reflected and felt that I didn’t seize the day enough. I’m very influenced by this quote from Machiavelli’s The Prince: “For my part I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her; and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her.” (I like the translation in my book later, and I’ll find it later.) (I apologize to any girls reading this.)
[Wow, this is not flowing very well. I feel disjointed while writing this. This is what I get for taking so long a break. It’s not naturally flowing.]
I know that whims aren’t always good, but this is a resolution to be more aggressive and adventurous. To be more loose and uncaring about consequences. There’s a certain trade-off, and I think that being more impetuous will pay off in terms of grabbing more opportunities.
Resolution #2, then, is the latest refinement of my resolution from 2005. Now, seizing the day has morphed into acting aggressively/impetuously in general. It is a habit I need to develop and maintain. At the end of 2005, I decided acting impusively wasn’t what I wanted. At the end of 2006, in the beginning of 2007, I’ve decided that acting impulsively isn’t such a bad thing.
Resolution #1 is number one for a reason. My worst habit right now is procrastination. I want to develop a new habit where I just do things instead of putting them off. I think I’ll also try to develop better time-management skills. This doesn’t mean I have to plan everything out in my day. I’m going to try to find something that works for me.
Another bad habit is dwelling on the past. In poker, I used to dwell a lot on my bad beats. Then, I figured out that bad beats were just a part of poker. Of course, I still get mad at the time, but I’m able to move on. When I do something really stupid, I don’t dwell on it either. I will mull it over in my mind, but I try to take lesson from it and then move on. In life, there will be plenty of bad beats and bad decisions. There will be plenty of missed opportunities. What can I do? Accept what has happened. Learn from it. Move on. So, resolution #3 is telling me to clear my mind whenever I focus too much on the past. Instead, I should think about now.
These resolutions are about breaking old habits and installing new habits. #1 is meant to break the habit of procrastination. #2 is meant to break the habit of passivity. #3 is meant to break the habit of living in the past.
For myself, I want to christen 2007 the Year of Reformation. As a side note, Lloyd talks about revolution, but this path doesn’t appeal to me. Although I said I was going to “start anew,” that’s not actually true in a strict sense. I want to reform myself, but it will be a process, not a revolution. Perhaps that’s my political beliefs bleeding into my personal beliefs, as a conservative who thinks revolution in general doesn’t produce the wanted results. Then, there’s also the fact that there’s a thread between 2005 to now, so I don’t really need a paradigm shift. In one sense, I want to become a new person, but in another sense, I don’t.
In a way, the real paradigm shift came at the end of 2004. Before that, my resolutions were big lists of things to do. This year, like the two years before, there’s nothing I can simply check off. I’m not declaring myself a new person at this very moment. I’ll be successful if at the end of 2007, I’ve established new habits. However, I must remember not to neglect what I’ve accomplished in the beginning of 2008 (or perhaps sooner). I’ve noticed how my skills in pool deteriorate without practice. My efforts to become a better person will likely deteriorate as well. Thus, I must focus everyday on becoming that new person.
And after writing this (unlike how I was feeling the past few days), I feel very optimistic.