Lessons Learned in The Past 12 Months


You have undoubtedly read dozens of articles by now on the economic and health challenges created over the past 12 months. Well, I want to share some insights on the good things that have happened during this unusual time. And as my good friend Jim said to me, “don’t put the C-word (or 19) in the title.” We are all sick of seeing and hearing it as clickbait to get us to read. 

So, I didn’t. 

There have been many positive lessons to glean from this funky, strange, haven’t-been-here-before experience which is still in play today. The way I see it, four things have floated to the surface as ways I have tried to learn and grow.  

  1. Patience: What other option do we have? If you have patience, it has certainly come in handy during this past year. And if you don’t (that’s me), you have probably been forced to learn how to acquire it. On the macro level, this once-a-century event highlights what little control we have over anything, and that knowledge can be applied to the day-to-day things that used to rattle the cage. How much of it really matters? I’ll let you decide. As my dear friend Mischa says, “chill the f out.” Pop star Dua Lipa had the word tattooed on her hand as a reminder. 
  1. Perspective: Little things matter, and they happen a lot more frequently than the large ones.  Not getting to take big vacations with my family to far off places, I’ve gotten to appreciate where I am. I live in a beautiful place. My family is healthy and business has been good (really good for my wife). Our teenage kids are doing the right things on a regular basis. Taking the time to feel grateful for all the things that really matter has helped me stay calm and centered, even when I have encountered the pandemic-related snags and frustrations we are all familiar with. In his book “Illusions”, Richard Bach writes “perspective: use it or lose it.” I couldn’t agree more. 
  1. People: While I haven’t been around as many humans as normal (whatever normal means), the time I have spent with my close-knit family and a handful of friends has been a blessing. Have we grown tired of too much togetherness at times? Sure. But overall, there have been so many examples of quality moments that we wouldn’t have had with the frantic pace of non-pandemic life. And in the end, for me as I’m sure for many of you, the important people in my life are what matters most. 
  1. Peace: Silence can be deafening, or it can be used to go within to find peace. For some, the constant distraction by distractions has become a way of life in the “I’m so busy world”. But, even without the quiet provided on the road, there has been plenty of time for repose, solitude and expansion. My friend recently loaned me his cold-water immersion tub, and I got in that 40-degree water every other day for 10 days. It is the purest form of meditation indeed. 

Life teaches us that the challenges we encounter provide as much upside as the successes. I hope that, like me, you have made it through this challenging year with at least a few silver linings of your own.