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What 2020 Taught Me

For most people, 2020 was horrible. For me, it was a wake up call.

What 2020 Taught Me
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You were just awful to most of the world, but not to me.

Why was I spared? Sure, I lost my job along with everyone else. But somehow, I'm okay. I continue to be okay. In fact, I'm better off financially now than I was a year ago.

How did that happen?

Let's start with what I'm not- more worthy than anyone else. I'm not someone who spends a lot of time volunteering. I don’t make enough income to donate a significant amount to charity. I like to think I'm a good person, but I still spend so much time on myself. I don't clean as much as I should. I don’t take care of my home as well as I should. I don't give as much as I should. I could be kinder, nicer, easier to love.

I could be...better. And yet, 2020, I was spared when you rained down fire, laying waste to the world. I was safe, huddled in a small condo somewhere north of the US border in a town that no one really cares about, even people that live here.

2020, for me, was filled with mercy. Mercy that allowed me to learn and grow as a person. I grew more this year than the last five years combined. It's time to review and reflect on what I've learned, what I want to accomplish in 2021, and how I'll carry these lessons forward.

May I continue to be worthy of mercy.

What I've learned

I feel like what I've learned could fill a book, if I could be disciplined enough to finish it. It’s important to know your strengths, though, and finishing things isn’t one of mine. My life is full of half-finished projects, writing and otherwise, that will never see completion. It’s a side effect of having an atypical executive function centre, but we can talk about that a little later.

There are many lessons that life has been trying to teach me for a while. 2020, you finally made them stick- and for that, I’ll always be thankful.

1.Your mindset is literally everything.

This was the biggest, and most important lesson from 2021. Your mindset is everything. Focus on the positive.

When you look at your cup, what do you see? Do you feel sad that it isn’t filled with something else, such as champagne? Or are you happy that you have access to clean water, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep?

I used to look at things around me and feel angry. It was never enough- I always wanted more. Now, let’s be honest- I still do. I still plan to be as successful as possible. And it’s okay to feel like that. But here’s a hard-earned lesson: if you always focus on what you don’t have, you’ll never have anything.

Like creates like- it’s the basic principle of manifestation, the big secret behind The Secret- the meaning behind the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” Your thoughts create your reality. The first step to abundance is appreciating the abundance that’s already around you.

After all, most of the things we want are simply concepts. If you want to be rich, realize that you already have such richness surrounding your life. Friends, family, shelter, food, water. We often take these for granted and yet, so many people go without these essential things.

Appreciating what you have doesn’t mean that you don’t want more. All it means is that you know how to be thankful and enjoy what you have. If you don’t enjoy it now, what’s the guarantee that you’ll enjoy it later when you get there? Appreciating what you have means realizing that your cup isn’t half empty- it’s half full. You may not have as much money as you want; but focus on the fact that you have it at all.

Doing this, you’ll find you’ll find that you want for less - and yet receive more. Life is all about your mindset.

2. Anything you do, do with intention.

Life can't be run on autopilot- not effectively. It isn’t worth doing something unless you’re doing it fully. Projects that lack passion won’t go anywhere near as far as ones that do. I’m not necessarily referring to brainless tasks, such as laundry, though anything can benefit from your attention.

When you do something, intend to do it well. Do your best and continue to do your best. You’ll find that your projects tend to go much, much further when you do.

3. Pay attention as much as you can.

You’re not always going to be able to ‘tune in’ to what you’re doing. God knows I can’t- the half-finished projects speak for that. Yet, I’ve made the resolution to try and pay attention to things I do. Half the problems I was facing were because I was doing things on autopilot, not paying attention, not even trying to understand.

Life can’t be run on autopilot. It just can’t. You’ll miss out on so many different things, so much opportunity, if you don’t pay attention to the world around you. There’s so much more that can be accomplished with just a little focus.

How I'll carry these lessons into 2021

I’ll continue to apply these lessons to my life every day, as much as possible. There will be days when I fail. There will be days where I can’t even accomplish the bare minimum.

That’s okay. I won’t focus on those bad days anymore. I’ll focus on all the other days where I accomplish more than I thought I could. By focusing on those days, I’ll create more of them. Eventually, those bad days will be few and far between.

What I want to accomplish in 2021

I’ve been wearing the shackles of debt for far too long. 2020, you helped me start to build a solid financial foundation. I hope to carry that to 2021. We have a lot of debt- the result of bad luck, bad choices, and bad mindsets. My hope this year is to make more progress on that debt.

I’d love to commit to getting rid of it completely, but I also want to be a realist. There’s too much of it for me to find an effective way to zero it totally. But I can take small steps to rid myself of it. Rome wasn’t built in a day- our debt free life won’t be, either.

Small steps will get you towards where you need to go. Those small steps are just as sacred as the big ones. It’s time to focus on taking small steps towards a bright future. I’ll get there, however slowly. All the while, I’ll enjoy the journey.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the piece, please consider leaving a tip – no matter how small. It’ll help us continue to take those small steps towards our bright future.

May your life be blessed with love and light- in 2021, and forever onwards. I’m rooting for you.

self help
Stephanie Edwards
Stephanie Edwards
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