Although people love to write and talk about the positive aspects of an upcoming new year, I want to focus on the anticipated and unknown struggles of 2011. Don’t be so overly optimistic about the new year that you avoid thinking about how challenging of a year 2011 can be and/or will be for you. While there is certainly nothing wrong with thinking positively about 2011, I just want you to know that we are not about to witness a transition to a new Utopian epoch. You are going to have to deal with some of the problems you faced in 2010 in 2011. What you should be thinking about is how you are going to address those problems in 2011. Think about how you are going to conquer the challenges that still linger on from 2010. Are you going to avoid those challenges, run from them, or face them head on?
Will you simply give up on life if someone close to you dies in 2011? Have you given this question any thought? Although you may not necessarily know how you will really react until something like this happens, you should at least give this question some serious thought because it could happen. You should have plans in place to respond to the unexpected death of a person who you are close to. If you don’t have a living will prepared, then let 2011 be the year that you construct one. If you don’t have life and health insurance, let 2011 be the year that you obtain these essential forms of insurance (if you can).
Learn to embrace the struggles you are facing in your life. Everybody is facing struggles. In 2011, don’t try to hide the fact that you are facing struggles. When you attempt to hide the struggles you are facing, you are not being real with yourself. When you are not being real with yourself, you are not being yourself.
If you have dreams of doing great things this year, don’t simply talk and write about them—go out and make them happen. When you know that you are not well-suited for what you are longing to be, then you need to come to the realization that your destiny and greatness is in an area where you have some natural talent.
Some people will dream all of their lives but there comes a point when you are going to have to do more than dream—you are going to need to go out and act! Yes, dreams and visions are important but they demand that we act passionately on them. Your dreams and visions are going to cause you great struggles, but if your dreams and visions don’t come with great struggles, then they are really too small. Your greatness is going to come with great struggles.
I want this year to be your greatest year, but for this year to be your greatest you are going to have to get real with yourself. You are going to have to be willing to suffer through the struggles that are going to come on the road to your destiny. This is a year where you are going to see more and more that you will never reach your greatness until you learn to be yourself. When you have a strong commitment to being yourself, you will find that your road to greatness will be much easier to drive on. Have a happy new year!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison