5 minutes

Be the Architect of 2024

As the year turns, we often ponder what the new year will bring. We tend to assume that it will be “given” to us, and we will have to accept whatever it brings. If we encounter things we consider beneficial, we’ll say it was a “good year.” If not, it will be one we’ll want to forget as soon as possible.

However, what if we were to reverse this logic a bit? What if we fully realized that how our world looks at the end of 2024 will be a result of the choices we make? In reality, the final picture of the whole world is nothing but a derivative of billions of individual decisions. Starting from how we spend our time, what we read and watch, through our daily consumer habits, to how we educate our children.

Our daily decisions shape the REALITY OF TOMORROW. A good example is the recent parliamentary elections: the individual decisions of 3 million Poles who went to the polls this time, having not done so 4 years earlier, decided the change in its outcome. As a result, a new majority was constituted, leading to significant changes. Although their assessment is a personal matter, these changes would not have occurred without those initial individual decisions to “go and vote.”

This example also shows that any moment is good for changing our approach. Of course, it’s not easy. There is a lot of inertia in our attitudes. Our decisions and actions do not come out of nowhere; they are not suspended in a vacuum. They are a derivative of the way of thinking “ENGRAVED” in us – through upbringing, education, marketing programming, etc. – our beliefs and paradigms. They govern us. The world is full of them, and we usually have little awareness of their existence and influence. And even if we are aware, it takes a lot of willpower not to succumb to them, to permanently change our perspective, for example, to start being guided by greater empathy, balance, and a long-term vision.

Such a change generally requires openness, a real desire for something to change. Only then is there a chance for reflection, to stop and start asking ourselves questions like: why do I think what I think? Why do I do what I do? It is well-posed questions that open us up to changes, first in the way of thinking, and consequently in ways of acting (more about this in “To understand the world around, change your questions and think in systems“).

As we begin to ask ourselves these questions, it becomes easier to discern the “sources of influence,” WHO AND WHAT SHAPES OUR INDIVIDUAL WAYS OF THINKING about ourselves and the world around us. For many of us, an important source is the media, both traditional and social. They seem to be a place for exchanging thoughts, but in practice, they are also a battleground for false information and manipulation. Moreover, the way our brain works means that these media seldom broaden our horizons; usually, we filter content in a way that reinforces the beliefs we already have. As a result, everything we look at, everything we encounter, is imbued with our INTERPRETATIONS AND JUDGMENTS. Contrary to what might seem beneficial, this closes us off to new, innovative, and alternative ways of thinking and acting. That is why J. Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher and writer, once stated, “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

At this point, another trap may arise on the road to change. Some of us are already aware of the mechanism related to our ways of thinking, beliefs, and paradigms. However, they change nothing in their actions because they do not believe in the power of their influence. They believe that the mighty of this world decide what happens, and they themselves are merely insignificant pawns. This is a lie that the mentioned mighty want us to believe. To not succumb to it, it is better to abandon the global perspective, focus on what is directly in front of you and around you. On the next step you can take, the next decision, on what you can control.

2024 can become the year in which we collectively decide to take bold steps towards safe innovation, sustainable development, and greater social justice. However, holding on to old patterns of thinking, we cannot expect a change in ways of acting, and thus new outcomes. If 2024 brings – whether on an individual or social level – “more of the same,” i.e., a deepening of existing challenges, problems, and social divisions, it will only mean that we followed the well-trodden paths of our beliefs, that there was a lack of the much-needed new perspective and the accompanying change.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote that the NEW is being shaped, and what it will ultimately be like and how the process of change will proceed, still depends on our ability to choose WHAT IS NEW. There can be many practical steps on the way to NEW WAYS OF THINKING AND NEW CHOICES. The simplest – and at the same time most effective – might be to reduce the time dedicated to media, both traditional and social. The time thus freed up should be used for deeper REFLECTION. As I mentioned earlier, it is the first step on the path to change. And it is these SEEMINGLY SMALL CHANGES OF GREAT INFLUENCE that I wish for myself and for you in 2024.


The image accompanying the text was generated by AI (DALL-E)

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