You’ve heard of the Law of Attraction, right? It’s the idea that both we and our thoughts are made of pure energy and that like energies will attract each other. So if you’re ill, for instance, you can attract healing energies to your body if you focus your intention on wellness. Or if you desire the perfect partner, you can tune your frequency the notion of your ideal mate and they will eventually materialize and/or locate you. Likewise, negative thoughts attract negative results. It’s all in that book, The Secret, the runaway success that had my people in a choke-hold in the early 2000s.
I am “my people”. However thanks to my Charismatic Christian conversion I was never confident enough to fully give myself over to the philosophy. In the times that I did practice the tenants of the Law of Attraction, I diligently found a corresponding Bible verse to justify my actions. Mixed approaches provide mixed results, and so while I was attracting the kind of experiences I had always hoped for, those experiences came with unanticipated costs. Even though 2021 was a qualitatively good year for me, I said “yes” to a lot of things that derailed me from my personal and professional goals.
Research has shown that 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail within the first 90 days of making them. There are many fancy scientific words to explain this repeated phenomenon, but the most fundamental reason is an over reliance on vibes. What this means is that folks make a resolution without implementing measurable and quantifiable targets and simply hope for the best. I myself rode the vibes wave for many a year and found myself absolutely confounded at my lack of success in key areas after a whole 12 months! So if you’ve made resolutions this year (things you wanna do), I strongly encourage you to stop and set S.M.AR.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and anchored within a Time Frame) goals instead.
But back to this highway of hell nawls I’ll be building.
On New Year’s day I declared that I was going to be spending a lot more time saying “no” to things where I would readily jump to in the past. I take great pride in being dependable and reliable, but there comes a point when those traits render you expendable in other people’s eyes. I became the catch all for work and duties that I had either 1) no interest in or 2) no expertise in…and spent weeks trying to educate myself on how to perform tasks that were not mine to begin with. After making that declaration, a good friend sent me this quote:
“How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements – how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!” – Seneca, On the Brevity of Life
That’s exactly what I’m talking about!
These are the key areas I’ve identified that have robbed me of time – and not to be dramatic -my very life.
Social Media Drama
What an absolute time waster! If you’ve never been the victim of a coordinated troll attack, you certainly know someone who has. Perhaps you’ve joined in the fray in their defense…and went back and forth with a faceless idiot for hours (sometimes days) trying to prove a point or protect someone you care about. In 2021, I made judicious employment of the block button, choosing to blot such useless entities from my life rather than engage. However I still found myself sucked into the occasional digital tiff in often futile attempts to shield mutuals from unwarranted attacks. Many hours and an extended headache later, my productivity suffered, fuming from the audacious idiocy I’d been battling online. I’m saying “no” to all of that.
Tasks That Do Not Further My Goals
Last year I wanted to launch my home bakery in a big way…And while I did get it off the ground, employing two people to assist with production, I was not able to focus on the marketing and growth aspect of my small business. This is because I kept adding more things from other people’s plate to my own, shouldering responsibilities that helped the team/community, but caused setbacks to my own established goals. So while I may be capable to perform those tasks, in 2022 I will not be available unless those tasks aid me. Issa naur fuh me!
Work That Lowers My Profile
In his tribute to Sidney Poitier, Robert Townsend shared that upon meeting the icon for the first time, he nervously blurted out this question:
Townsend: How did you get to have dignity in your movies when everybody else was shuffling?
Mr. Poitier: The power to say no…I didn’t accept every role that came along; There is power in “no”.
Sidney Poitier had a long and distinguished career. There was never a role that I have seen him in wherein his character internalized the dehumanization that was foisted upon him because of the color of his skin. He carried the same dignity on screen as he did in real life. I had already made the decision to have a ready “no” at the lips, but this testimony from Mr. Poitier only confirmed that I am on the right track! Any work that does not elevate my profile or portfolio I reject in the mighty name of Jesus.
It would be disingenuous to claim that I have always been an eager “yes” woman. My cultural background demands compliance and obedience, which I gave reluctantly but gave nonetheless. In this next phase of life and goal setting it is thrilling to consider what new doors saying “no” may unlock for me.
What new strategies are you considering employing to meet your goals this year? What’s the best advice you’ve been given in goal setting that you wish everyone knew? Whatever those may be, I’m rooting for you from mzansi! Happy New Year.