Growing up, I had very present and instructive parents. My little brother and I got a lot of “this is how you behave when insert situation here” types of advice from them. It was interesting in public scenarios, and frequent as well. It was all in good intention, and in the grand scheme of things, it has made me a better person. It has also shaped my thought process to always ask myself how I should be behaving, or what I should be doing as opposed to how I want to behave or what I want to do, and it has made me a very introspective person to the last letter of the word. I’m coming back to this premise.
That said, I’ve grown up to be someone who is relatively independent minded, and I always seek to ask myself why before giving in to a thought or idea. In the process of exploring who I truly deeply want to be and how I want to be remembered, I have gotten in the habit of constantly asking myself how I can become bigger and better in every situation or rite of passage. This loosely translates to asking myself how I can improve myself, or whatever I am dealing with in that particular moment. Irony I eventually found myself in Texas.
I recently clocked yet another birthday, and in typical Goke fashion, I took some time out over the weekend to ask myself how I can be bigger and better in the next year. I got the help of my typical tools – my notepad, my computer et Evernote account, and some scrap sheet – and I began jotting away. Going back to my last year and patting myself on the back, or refocusing on things that had slipped through. When it was time to think about the new bigger and better initiatives for myself in the new year, I thought, well except I really want to sit and gloat in another self serving exercise of choking on my own vomit, I really should be getting bigger and better by just tending to what I have already. Bear with me for a moment.
There are not a lot of lessons I learned from my parents that I personalize as much as I am personalizing this one. A few practical examples-
- If I am taking good care of the body I have today, I will inevitably get in better shape. I will be more active and consume better things.
- If I am taking good care of the work I do today, I will become better at it, in turn, become a more competent professional and then create a demand for my level of competence in the marketplace.
- If I am taking good care of my intellect as it is today; reading books, watching shows and engaging in work that stimulates my intellect, then I have more knowledge with which I can use to process the things that are happening in the world around me.
- If I am taking good care of my finances today, I will become a better steward of creating more wealth when opportunity meets the talent and competency that I bring to a new venture or organization.
Catch 22 isn’t it? We don’t need to create new contexts with which we can be bigger and better. As with most things, simply mastering and being good stewards of the things we have today opens new doors and gives us the competencies we need to handle bigger and better things or opportunities when they are available. As with most ideas, this is not one size fits all, but in most scenarios, this is everything. Take care of what you have or where you are today, and you create value that prepares you for what you will have or where you will be tomorrow. Brighten the corner where you are. Water the grass on your own side of the lawn to get it green. All other flavors of this timeless advice.
All this to say, I spent the rest of that day by the lake, taking in the beauty of nature and the beautiful derivatives around it which we created. I will take good care of myself, where I am, and the things I have this new year, bigger and better.