As you’re reading this, you, like many of us, have returned to work or school after a nice holiday respite. I’d usually say “normalcy”, but we’re experiencing a new normal – one that’s being shaped by the mutations of a virus called COVID. Welcome to 2022.
With the new year comes the usual resolutions and expectations for the upcoming months. There’s declarations of “leaving things in 2021”, the “new year, new me” declarations, followed by the pledges to be better people. Some vow to “get rid of the negative people.” Others resolve to “take up a hobby” or “get a new job.” Many will finally make the classic move of joining the nearest gym.
And the irony can’t be lost on the fact that the new year follows the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two times in which we basically stuff ourselves with turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato pies until sleep creeps up on us. And let’s be honest, most of these resolutions have been abandoned by March anyway. This isn’t to say new beginnings aren’t good. But, do we spend too much time on the small stuff? Do we concentrate too much on waiting for a particular day or time to increase our productivity?
I once read a piece on Elite Daily called “The Science of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear the Same Thing Every Day.” The article raised some interesting questions. Do we spend too much time deciding what we’re wearing each day? Do we toil over those lunchtime decisions? What restaurant are we going to? Do we worry a bit too much about whether or not we’re going to join a gym? Or which gym are we going to join? Have we really taken a look at how much time we waste making these “decisions”?
In other words, we may have become less efficient at what matters by obsessing over that which isn’t that important. Steve Jobs all but revolutionized the tech world in a black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers everyday – in front of shareholders, Time magazine, or a staff meeting. It was the same thing day in and day out. Albert Einstein wore a gray suit everyday. (I picture Matlock in his Seersucker suits). And Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, wears a T-shirt and jeans religiously. He’s several years my junior and several zeros better than me in the bank account. These gentlemen may just be doing something right.
See, I’ve learned, over the years, that all of my “resolutions” left me unnecessarily stressed. I had become exhausted with the minutiae. And haven’t we all? We worry about buying the latest fashions and who’s going to see us in them. We worry about eating at the finest restaurants and who’s going to see us there. We worry about getting the latest Jordans – and stand in long lines to do so – all in the name of vanity. We all spend an inordinate amount of time buying things, eating places, and doing things just to impress people who probably could care less. All these things are exacerbated by social media. Everyone’s “creating content”, checking algorithms and analytics, hoping to gain “traction”. It’s all about views, likes, and shares. And even as folks pledge to change their personal trajectory, it’s become more important that we have an audience for our journey than the journey itself.
In the upcoming year, I only resolve to simplify my life. I want to reduce the stressful aspects and irrelevant decisions to make myself more productive. Uruguay’s President Jose’ Mujica once said it best, “We’re forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.” Here’s to a happy and productive 2022 to us all.