New Year, New Attitudes


ONE OF THE good things about beginning a new year is that it affords us all the opportunity to self evaluate and make adjustments to our lifestyles.

For many of us, as we begin this New Year, there is the feeling of apprehension and maybe even trepidation at the prospect of what may be ahead. We all have great expectations that this year will be kinder to us than last year was. Well, I can tell you that many of the things that happened in the last year, and will happen this year, and will continue to happen every year for the rest of your life, did not just happen. Most of it occurred because of the choices we made, and the attitudes we have. I want to suggest that a good approach for this New Year, to change the circumstances of your life, would be to have a deliberate attitude adjustment.

First, you need to design your environment on purpose. We all are affected, one way or another, by our environment. The influences, the norms, the personalities around us all conspire to inform how we think, believe and act. It is therefore of absolute importance that you re-evaluate some of the relationships and associations you have. Negativism is infectious; hence, negative people are a threat to your progress. Avoid people who are always negative and judgmental. There are some people who, without taking the time to get to know you as a person, will pass scathing judgment on you, maybe because of your ethnicity, economic circumstances, or religious or political ideology. Such persons are shallow and immature, and should not be given the benefit of securing your discomfort. Ignore criticisms that are baseless and driven by personal fears and insecurities. You must also get rid of pessimism. You can’t get yourself up by talking yourself down. On a personal level, you need to begin cultivating relationships with individuals who will encourage you to aspire for, and pursue, great things. Get yourself a life-coach; someone who believes in you and who is willing to invest time and effort in provoking you to greater works. On a wider level, stay away from those toxic people who continue to see and speak only evil and destruction over our nation. Those who would sink to the depths of moral duplicity to see only the negatives, and ignore the little strides we are making as a nation. Avoid them like the plague. Their incessant whining and griping can erode your spirit of patriotism and nationhood. We are not where we want to be as a nation. Guyana is located in a wider context of economic and political realities; hence, we are not impervious to the implications of globalisation. But we cannot expect our country to be lifted to higher heights of socio-economic stature by talking it down. I implore you to change your attitude towards your country; become a patriot again. There is much we would like to see happen, but the honest man will admit that in spite of our difficulties, we, as a nation, have much to be grateful for. Secondly, we must be aware that success is deliberate. We do not wake up and find ourselves successful. We have to plan and prepare, and purposefully pursue success. Many of us very improperly blame others for our problems, when, if the truth be told, we would realise that it is by our own design; our own bad attitudes that we are in some of the mess we are in. I want to insist also that poverty is not just a lack of money; it is also a state of mind; a mind void of ambition, drive and determination. Admittedly, there are countless millions who live in an environment of abject poverty and deprivation, whose destinies are not of their own making, and wish as they may, even with relentless labor and hopeful aspirations, they are locked into a perpetual reality of lack and deprivation. It is to these, that justice and compassion must at all cost be given. But my earlier reference is to those who would remain in poverty in the midst of opportunities, because of their choices and attitudes.

One brilliant sociologist once remarked that poverty cannot be understood from an economical perspective, but from a social perspective. The insanity of spending more than we earn on things that have no lasting economic value continues to worry me. We own the latest electronic gadgets, but can’t find the money to invest in our own education. We buy name brand sneakers for our children, but can’t afford their text books. We live in rented apartments, but spend our Friday evenings, down by the beer gardens, ‘sporting de boys’. These are the kinds of attitudes that lends to poverty.
I wish to challenge you to change your attitude in this 2010.
Finally, be relentless in your pursuits. We give up so easily on the things we claim to be important to us. Nothing of value comes easily, so we must be persistent and relentless.
2010 is filled with great possibilities. You can soar to new heights of extraordinary achievements, but your attitude will determine your altitude. HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR