Take Stock: Learning From Previous False Starts

BY Mitchell Aghatise||


1st January 2013;

As I paid the taxi driver, I stumbled out of the taxi, packed my bags and struggled with it out of the wear beaten taxi… as I lumbered on; I shouted out one last time to the taxi driver, “Happy New year, I hope all your dreams come true”.

Today; it’s the end of the year again, and as I sit here typing up this post, the event alluded to in the first paragraph remains imprinted on my mind. Although for many, it seems like a generation ago now, in reality time breezed past.  Many people, inclusive of me scribbled resolutions on crumpled paper pads; many of these resolutions died natural deaths resulting from procrastination, others were not really resolutions but points written down not induced by a change of heart but by the euphoria that comes with the idea of a new start.

This article asks for a different approach this year; what is wrong with right now to make changes? What were the flaws of yesterday and what happened to your presently uncompleted projects? Indeed if the habit of completion is not imbibed and the habit of learning from previous false starts is not adhered to, then it is submitted that new resolutions are not worth the ink or paper on which they are written. Queen Elizabeth in her annual Christmas speech encapsulated the theme of this write-up perfectly, she said, “…We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock”.

In essence at the end of the year, at the end of this year, don’t let your new year resolutions be a knee-jerk reaction like it has always been but rather; think deep, think hard, think strategy and stick to what you come up with. Every military man who is worth their salt will tell you, the secret to success on the battlefield do not come down to the decisions on the day but, success is laid on firm foundations of meticulous planning and strategy.

Caveat must here be noted, one must break tradition, you need not wait for the first of January to act on the changes you want to act upon. What is wrong with right now?

22nd December, 2013;

I was packed up ready to get my train for my Christmas holiday. All the taxi’s were running late, so I  called for a taxi from a cab company that I usually don’t patronise. As my taxi arrived, I recognised the driver immediately- it was the driver from the first paragraph above. I had a flashback and remembered that during our ride that first day of January, he had told me of his plans and how he intended to own his own cab company by the end of the year, at the time, I was very impressed but on further discussion with him it seemed not well thought through and inspired by the January first knee-jerk resolution syndrome, although for his sake, I hoped I was wrong and that he was going to make it work.

As he drove me to the train station, I noticed that he didn’t seem to remember me, so I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation as a first time meeting will go. I soon discovered that his resolutions had not worked to plan and that he was now working with another cab company after he had been dismissed from his previous company… this time around, his resolutions had changed and he was telling me on how he wanted to own a chain of bicycle rentals which will be the next big thing in my city… I chuckled wondering what happened to his previous plans, had they even lasted more than two weeks? What were the flaws and why give up on his former dreams? Again I felt these plans were not yet well thought out; but since I am not one to ruin Christmas cheer, once more I wished him luck.

In essence, it is important to think deep, else one makes resolutions and plans based on knee jerk reactions, but when one engages the thought process and acts according to those thoughts…

Then the world is your oyster…

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