By: Eric Betts
The year of 2020 has been an extremely difficult year. We have seen a worldwide pandemic that has killed nearly 400,000 Americans. We have seen political and social strife. We have seen economic hardship. We have seen middle class families waiting in long lines to receive food donations. Millions have lost loved ones in 2020. We have had to endure lockdowns, quarantines, and mask mandates. Hospitals have been stretched to their limits, and many of the sick were turned away. Our society has been kept away from the things that are customarily enjoyed, such as movie theaters, churches, amusement parks, football games, and basketball games. High school and college graduations were conducted virtually. Many graduation ceremonies only allowed a few family members. Marriage ceremonies where postponed. Some marriage ceremonies were held, but only a limited few were allowed to attend. Many of our elementary and high schools were forced to hold their classes virtually. This was difficult for many because some were not able to afford internet service in their home. Many preschoolers and kindergarteners have fallen behind with learning how to read and do math. The workplace has been very difficult. Thousands have been let go due to the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic and lockdowns. Communities have been devastated because many businesses have had to close for good. Many small business owners have suffered because of the loss of their customers and profits. Restaurants in many communities have also been shuttered. They were not considered to be essential and never recovered upon reopening.
The entire world has been looking forward to the year 2021 because 2020 was so disastrous. They have been hoping that 2021 would usher in a new and better period without all the problems of 2020. However, it is suggested that what will make 2021 a better year is not the calendar itself, but it is by becoming a better version of yourself. This is what will make 2021 a better year. What will make it a better year is not by waiting for the changes that 2021 may bring, but by initiating changes in one’s own life that will be helpful in handling problems and situations in a new way. Sometimes life doesn’t bring the desired change. Leaders have to be able to grow and help people to grow in difficult seasons. So if one really desires a change in 2021, one should not wait for things to get better but find ways to become a better person. One must first look in the mirror and commit to letting go of the old and embracing the new in their own lives.
There are 25 suggestions of old things for leaders to leave behind in 2020, and not to be carried into 2021. These suggestions will ensure a prosperous 2021. What are those old things to leave in 2020?
Old resentments, old jealousies, old tit-for-tat pettiness, old defense mechanisms, old grudges, old comparisons, old ways of reacting, old definitions of success, old hurts, the old way of not connecting with others, old prejudices, old ways of managing time, old ways of prioritizing, old animosities, old insecurities, old excuses, old hatreds, old discouraging language, the old blame game, old shortcuts for success, old worries, the old way of defining and evaluating yourself, old fears of risk taking, the old way of fighting, or the old way of handling difficulties and trials.
We should be grateful for 2021, not because of what it may bring, but because of what the new you will bring to 2021. It is time to take on new habits, new aspirations, new commitments, new vision, a new outlook, a new drive, a new determination, new levels of excellence, new courses to chart, new motivations, a new way of speaking, a new way of seizing opportunities, and a new level of gratitude. The year of 2021 will be much better, not because of an absence of problems, but because of a new attitude toward your co-workers, subordinates, and other relationships. The year of 2020 was tough, to say the least, but many valuable lessons were learned. Take advantage of the new lessons, new skills, and new discoveries from 2020 and put them to use in 2021. A better year will be yours for the taking.
By: Eric Betts
Assistant Director, Curtis Coleman Center for Religious Studies and Ethics at Athens State University