Compliments of the New Year! Congratulations on making it to 2023. The fact you did is all the proof you need that this is your year! Because you’re here. Which, sadly, some aren’t. And we don’t take it for granted. So, despite whatever challenges you may be facing right now, you still have air in your lungs, a beating heart, and over 330 days to turn things around. My prayer is that 2023 will be your best year yet. The beginning of many greater beginnings. May it be healthy, prosperous, and fruitful. And may you walk in the reality of all your dreams.
I’ve been meditating on how to kick off our conversations for 2023. You know how it goes. With a new year, many are about throwing out the old, and bringing in the new. We know the rhetoric all too well. We hear about lists of resolutions and goals. Folks spend entire days drawing up vision boards. And they look inviting. We see a lot of activity in the direction of change. Less of this, more of this, none of this, and so on. And it’s all great. But I’d like to engage you in a different conversation. Shifting away from this sort of language to a bigger picture. From what we hope to achieve and everything we intend to do to ensure it. To whom we’re becoming in the process. Who are you? Because let’s face it. Time is passing and age is creeping. And every year, we seem to start strong. But, when you judge the big picture, what story is told? Are you better for the goal setting? And are you aptly positioned for more growth?
My inspiration for this blog came from a sermon preached by my Pastor recently. Which, interestingly, also deeply touched my son and inspired his first Upper IV English speech for 2023, in which he discusses ‘The Evolution of Film’. Listening to him rehearse the speech, he definitely understood the message. The title of the sermon being, ‘The Power to Evolve’. In summary, Pastor explained that without evolving and adapting to a changing world, you die. Perhaps not physically, from the onset. But day-by-day, you enter a cycle of decay and destruction. And unless you do something about it, ultimately death. That business will die, your relationships will end, that ministry will shrink, and so forth. He explained how one becomes irrelevant when one fails to adapt to the ‘greater glories’ that come with new seasons. Some, because they miss out entirely on what’s happening. They don’t see that change has come and by the time they catch up, it’s too late. And others, because they’re stuck in seasons past and fail to break into the spaces they must occupy in order to progress to the new. We get it. Change can be daunting and overwhelming. But if it leaves you behind, you’re worse off.
He also highlighted a powerful thought. How the earth is constantly moving. Firstly, at a general speed of approximately 660m per second (about 1000 miles per hour). And then, around the sun at a speed of approximately 30km per second (about 67 000 miles per hour). Which means that even the ground we’re standing on is not static. Yet we don’t feel any of this power. His point being that since the earth is a force and source of movement, then so should we be. Moving and advancing with the same, or arguably even greater, intensity, speed, and frequency. Because this is how the world was designed to function. To move; progress; and advance. Bringing all things new and better with its evolution.
So, let’s get into this. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Evolve’ as to develop gradually. Being to alter, grow, transform, expand, extend, spread, mature and progress. Converting into a greater and better version; one that is improved and more glorious.
Here’s the thing. Men have mastered the game of change. Or rather, pursuing processes aimed at bringing about change. Man understands the importance of setting goals and actively pursuing them. In addition, available to man are numerous resources, thought leaders, coaches, learnerships, etc; all designed to assist with the process of change. Man is inspired all around to become the change he wants to see. And year-on-year, man uses the opportunity of a new year to leave behind that which didn’t work and to focus on that which is believed to yield positive results.
Yet, insufficient attention is placed on the results. After all, the proof is in the fruit. That is, whether the change has been for better. Too often, we minimise past failures. “It didn’t work out, but it’s ok. I’ll try again”. Other times, we’re simply indifferent. After all, motivational teachings have convinced us that if you don’t win, you learn. That there’s no such thing as failure but an opportunity to do things differently. And perhaps it wasn’t even for you. Because what’s yours won’t miss you. I disagree. While all of this can be true depending on the circumstances; we would need to look at those closely. I appreciate the need to put a positive spin on failure. But before we even go there (and I would still need a whole other conversation when we get there), we must firstly unpack why you failed. In truth. What went wrong? If you had done things differently, would you still have failed? Was it really ordained for your to fail? Sometimes men too easily write off these experiences and then simply start over. Without taking a moment to ascertain whom they’re becoming through all of the movement.
Which begs the question that is the focus of this blog. Are you evolving? Because if you’re not, despite all of the activity, you’re actually on a downward trend. Let me explain further. Growth is an interesting thing. We grow in stages. But learn in phases. Some mistakenly assume that passage to the next phase is growth to the next stage. And others, that they can grow to the next stage without going through the learnings provided at lower phases. And then there are many variations between the two. But except we focus less on the process of change, and more on the stages and phases that one needs to go through in the process of change, you may find that the changes made actually yield negative results. And instead of evolving and growing into an improved and better version of yourself, you’re falling in the opposite direction.
This is what I want to say at the beginning of 2023. Incidentally, it’s such a great time to be alive. We’ve lived through the Covid-19 pandemic and learnt to function in many new ways we never thought possible. At the same time, the world is evolving at an unbelievable rate. Consider the talk around ChatGP and the predictions about the future. Artificial Intelligence has become more real a reality than ever before. Innovation, creation, and technology are advancing in leaps and bounds. Science is breaking into greater realms, and we can only expect more incredible results to come out of laboratories going forward. The things that man is doing with his bare hands and his mind are simply amazing. And our children are growing up in a generation we never imagined possible. My point is this. With all the activity and movement in the world today, it’s no longer enough just to change. To set goals and wake up every day in the pursuit of them. Because even that change can be negative. We’re out of time to be trying and failing. To be figuring it out by trial and error. We must be evolving. At least at the same rate as the world in which we live. Although I would personally argue, even faster.
So, ask yourself. Are you becoming a better person; son; daughter; spouse; colleague; business partner; or friend? Or have you fallen into a rut. Repeating the same cycles with the same results. You’ve heard it said; stupidity is doing the same thing yet expecting different results.
You’re exercising every day, but just looking at your lifestyle tells a different story. You go to work every day, but you make it so hard for your colleagues to work with you by your mean-spirited temperament that keeps getting worse. You want the picture-perfect family, but aren’t present in the home. You speak a good story about change, but display something completely different by your behaviours. You’re unemployed, still living at home with your parents and looking for a job; yet you binge watch Netflix on a daily basis. And everything around you is dying. You’re losing friends. But you’ve convinced yourself that they were seasonal relationships and that the loss is in your favour. Your business is sinking. But you argue that the story would be different if Eskom stopped loadshedding. You can’t keep a job. But that’s because your boss is too tough. You had enough of the crime and relocated for a better life, but now you’re suffering even more than you did back home. You can’t even keep your cell phone. You lose your belongings every other day. Sometimes they’re stolen; other times you forget them somewhere; and in some instances, you don’t even know what happened. Everything around you is dying. And you don’t see it. Rather, you have many excuses justifying why you’re not evolving. You blame the Government, you blame your spouse, you blame your boss, you blame the weather – heck, the whole world is responsible. And every morning you wake up to the view of a beautifully crafted vision board that you believe will come to manifestation.
The world is advancing while you’re sleeping. And if you’re not careful, you’ll be left behind. Quit the empty goal setting. Take a minute and examine yourself. And be specific and deliberate about the changes you must make in order to evolve and become the person you need to be.
Change isn’t always growth. It can be negative. And if you’re not evolving. You’re actually dying slowly. And that’s the truth. You should be better today than you were yesterday. Bigger, stronger, wiser, richer – the list goes on. Your path should be from glory to glory only. If this is not your experience. Then you’re your own biggest problem. It’s time to look in.
When it’s all said and done, it’s not how you start, or what goes on in the middle, that matters most. But how you finish. So, be not discouraged. And, feel not judged. We’re all on a journey. You still have time. It’s not over yet. Just use it wisely.
To the evolution of caking!
Yours in baking,