Commentary: A better person in 2017
I've been window shopping the list of New Year's resolutions just to see what's cool this year. Not with the idea of buying in, but just out of curiosity. It appears that a healthier diet (and loss of weight) and more exercise are still in the to...
I've been window shopping the list of New Year's resolutions just to see what's cool this year. Not with the idea of buying in, but just out of curiosity. It appears that a healthier diet (and loss of weight) and more exercise are still in the top three, but number one is to be a better person in 2017. If I knew of any ways to be a better person, I should have tried them a long time ago, but the real question is, aside from making impressive sounding resolutions, most of us have settled in comfortably with the person we are now and really don't want to make the effort to become a "better person."
But there is no shortage of suggestions. The New York Times recently published a list called, "11 Ways to be a Better Person in 2017." Some of them are worth considering even though they may seem insignificant. For example, number one was, "where comfortable underwear." That makes sense, but do we need to be reminded? One 22-year-old named Julia is quoted as saying, "I only wear grannie panties." What did she wear before and how is she better now? Several other suggestions were too obvious to mention, or were they: drink coffee (one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in the American diet), be nice to babies (even when they're screaming), if you divorce - play nice, toss the cigarettes, get a pet (not a cure for depression, but a pet makes you better at living with it), stick with your (rocky) marriage and make sure you are the boss (and not the slave) of your electronic devices.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. Is that all there is? I just received an email from a reader this morning with a challenge from Stephen Wilbers (an expert on writing), "Resolve to use writing to make the world a better place in 2017. Imagine a world where every child has a chance to lead a happy, safe fulfilling life. Imagine a world where all people have a chance to develop their full potential. Imagine a world where every old person feels loved and cared for, a world where no one is lonely." How is this done? Not by wearing grannie panties, but by writing a positive column, or writing notes and letters to teachers who made an impact, or a thank you note for a favor, or a letter to the editor about an issue you deeply care about.
We all can write and we all have somebody who would get a big lift from a heartfelt note or letter. But not unless we write it and send it.
While I was considering the message of Stephen Wilbers, I stumbled across the resolutions of a few of our business leaders, motivated people. They add to the list with the following:
• Every day resolve to do the best that you can. Do what you can where you can.
• Take my kids outdoors more in 2017.
• Take more time to think.
• Spread kindness like confetti.
• Learn to play the guitar.
• Use my position and influence to aid in the humanitarian refugee crises in many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Europe today.
• Spend less time reading and writing emails and more time being present and looking people in the eye.
• Take on one seemingly impossible task, like "Fat Guy Across America", Eric Hites, who rode his bike from coast to coast. (Claimed by some to be a Facebook scam.)
• Take extreme ownership of everything I do. No excuses.
Every one of us can be a better person in 2017. If you want to share your pet resolution, I'll pass it along with your permission. Again, Happy New Year.