Let me start by saying that I am quite happy 2022 is over as it was arguably the most challenging year so far. I had a lot planned for it, but everything got derailed when my biggest fear in life came true in February and I got diagnosed with cancer. This led to me facing a lot of unknowns, losing my stoic mindset, and thus the following failures.
My 2022 Failures:
I put fear ahead of reason when things got tough. Simply put, I ditched the stoic principle of “focus only on what you can control” and instead panicked every time I faced an unknown. This at times made me feel like a hypocrite. How could I preach the benefits of stoicism if I was not living that mindset?
That question above led to my second failure: I stopped reading anything related to philosophy, and in turn stopped posting stoic quotes on my LinkedIn page for an extended period of time. I guess Seneca was right when he said “No one can live a truly happy life, or even a bearable life, without philosophy” as I truly felt unhappy during those days. I always liked to think that whatever I am posting is going to help someone somewhere in this world, and knowing that I am no longer having such impact (regardless of how small it is) contributed to that feeling of unhappiness.
Even though my health situation started improving again towards the end of the year and I started reading philosophy again, the feeling of self disappointment kept lingering on. At the time of writing this post, I don’t even know what the worst failure is anymore: panicking when facing unknowns, ditching philosophy and stoicism, or being unable to get rid of my feeling of self disappointment. What I do know is that all three equally deserve to be on this list.
- I lost track of what mattered the most: family and relationships. I don’t think I was the best son/brother/boyfriend/relative/friend in 2022 as I wasn’t as available as I should have been. In many instances, I chose isolation over availability.
- I lost sight of what my purpose in life is. When my MBA teacher asked me what my purpose is five years ago, my answer was to help others. Yet when I reflect back on my year, I don’t think I helped enough. I volunteered less than what I used to, donated less, and declined coaching opportunities when they came up as I felt I should prioritize myself first. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the mentality of putting yourself first. It is just not the one for me.
- I didn’t maximize the time I had. That stemmed from an issue where I prioritized simple and comfortable tasks over difficult and complex ones. And when I postponed the complex ones, I started feeling anxious and stressed about their never ending timelines.
- I complained. Whether it was about my health, my work, my problems, I complained and somehow expected my life to improve after I do so. It didn’t. As Marcus Aurelius once put it: if it is endurable then endure it and stop complaining. If it’s not endurable, stop complaining as well (the complaints won’t make whatever you are facing endurable).
Improvement starts with discipline
My 2023 year will revolve around discipline, as I feel that is what I lacked the most in 2022. Discipline will provide freedom, stability, focus, and in turn improvement. Becoming disciplined starts with the small things such as meditating daily and sleeping consistent hours, and with time will lead to achieving bigger things such as my life’s purpose of helping as many people as I possibly can.
Cheers to a happy, healthy and productive new year 🙂