Things Fall Apart: The First Step to Rebirth & Rebuilding in the New Year
This is a timely post as it’s January 1st, 2022. 2 years into the pandemic and everything has changed. We are in the midst of another Covid Omicron variant surge across the world: this pandemic has basically become endemic. All the trends that were set in motion almost 2 years ago are now mostly permanent and long lasting. Whether that is remote work, the movement of people to different states and to small towns, food delivery, growing digital life over offline life, Raging inflation and supply chain issues. A full breakdown of the geopolitical world order and the truly adult realization that no one is coming to save you. Not the media, definitely not the government. You can only count on yourself. Well, maybe also some of your family & some friends. Henrik Ibsen said: “The strongest man in the world is he who stands alone.”
Boy, did I feel alone. 2020 was pretty much the worst year of my life. The stress, the fear, the financial challenges, the isolation and personal family issues. Those 8 months almost broke me. But I did get through it. I fought through it and rebuilt myself as written in a previous post: https://hardfork.substack.com/p/going-to-monk-mode. Developed some new good habits like a regular exercise regime, better investing mindset, gratitude exercises and having an actual plan for life. From the great Dick Tracy:“A Man without a plan is not a man.”
Still, I think many of us were happy to put 2020 behind us. And also very hopeful of a return to normal and to the life we had before. But we have to face the reality. Everything, including ourselves, has changed dramatically and forever. This was a major wake up call for me.
And in retrospect, this hardship was a crucible that made me stronger, smarter, healthier, better and wiser in almost every way. 2021 was a great personal turnaround. Hard lessons are only learned through massive personal pain. Everybody wants a new beginning and rebirth. But they forget about the collapse & destruction that needs to happen before.
Basically, 2020 destroyed many of my old beliefs, ideals and views of what the world was like. More importantly it destroyed my ego which is usually the biggest barrier in the way of personal change and development. It was a necessary step for my progress.
This reminds of the famous Zen Koan:
“There was a Japanese Zen master named Nan-in who lived during the Meiji era (1868–1912). During his days as a teacher, he was visited by a university professor curious about Zen.
Being polite, Nan-in served the professor a cup of tea.
As he poured, the professor’s cup became full, but Nan-in kept on pouring. As the professor watched the cup overflow, he could no longer contain himself and said, “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
Nan-in turned to the professor and said, “Like the cup, you are too full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
This is no different than the beliefs and ideas you have in your brain. And this is also why so many old people have a hard time changing. They have so many hard earned lessons and when the world changes around them, they just can’t adapt. Or more likely do not want to adapt. I see this all around me. This inability to let go. It’s not a physical or monetary thing. This is the mental blocker that prevents them from moving forward.
So as we enter 2022 and the new year, If you really want to make a positive change and have a personal rebirth, take some hard action. Build good habits, read good books and learn some skills. Make sure you are willing to destroy some bad habits & beliefs, let go of negative people and your previous ideas that are holding you back. It’s like taking a wrecking ball to a damaged building and leveling it. This way you can rebuild it back better and stronger. You owe it to yourself. Now is the perfect time.
As Pablo Picasso stated, “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”