Let’s stop thinking of dates and ages as deadlines; let’s enjoy and learn from the process.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.
February 8, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Humans have a fixation on numbers. We tend to think that there are numerical combinations that serve to define goals or to open up new opportunities. For example, with the change of year, many have false hopes such as “2021 will be much better than 2020” , simply because we like to trust it. The same happens when we meet certain ages. We see as a watershed reaching this or that decade and we make our lists of purposes; “Before turning 40 I want to achieve… (insert your set of wishes here)”.
We have been nurturing this collective idea for generations, as it allows us to better order the world. However, this obsession with numbers can be negative. On the one hand, if we believe that “everything will improve” on January 1, despite the fact that there are no reasons to support it, changing our mentality towards a more optimistic one can bring multiple benefits. But on the other hand, if we use the numbers as an expiration date, we will only produce unnecessary pressure and, by not getting it, a lot of frustration.
This was my case when I turned 33 and several of my friends told me “ah, the age of Christ” (accompanied by my answer: “yes, that of Christ when he died…). But my strange sense of humor couldn’t stop me from reflecting on my life. At first, I came to the tragic conclusion that I have not done anything important: I have not created a successful company, I do not have children, I have not grown as a professional as I expected, I did not buy a house, nor have I achieved great recognition; come on, I haven’t even planted a tree, much less written a book. I also analyzed my reduced social life. Who at 33 can bring thirteen people together for a dinner?
My close friends are less than ten, and yet not all of them would go to my event because they “couldn’t leave the baby” or “because they had a very exhausting week at work”. He wouldn’t even achieve that quorum by offering to turn all water into wine.
I have to accept that this feeling of failure in almost every aspect of my life depressed me. I know I was looking at the glass as half empty, but it was hard for me to turn it around to notice what I had achieved in these years: I work at what I like, I am not in debt, I am in good health (better than I had in my twenties) , I started a small business, I have real friends and I am in a happy and stable relationship.
Changing the focus made me happy and helped me stop thinking of numbers as a deadline. I did not abandon my dreams or goals, nor do I trust that there will always be time to make them, but now I cultivate the thought that they will arrive when I have followed the right path and is ready to receive it. This makes me value and enjoy the processes much more. Any end is achievable with effort and perseverance, but it is in the process where the true learnings lie. That is why it does not matter if they are achieved or not within a certain period, there is always growth.
If you are like me and you are frustrated because “at 30, 40, 50, etc., you do not have a successful company or you have achieved ‘success'”, I invite you to turn your perspective . Stop giving so much value to numbers and your relationship with them; the only deadline that exists is the lack of interest, and it does not understand ages or dates.