With this fall’s release of Peter Jackson’s documentary series, Get Back, and Paul McCartney’s book, The Lyrics, I’ve enjoyed hearing more about The Beatles’ groundbreaking work. As a long-time fan, it’s fascinating to get more background and context for some of this iconic music.

Year-end is a time for reflection. And after a year like this one, we have lots to reflect on! In their classic song, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” The Beatles sing, “living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see.” I am not sure how easy it is to live with eyes closed. It can certainly be dangerous to our health and well-being. We might end up where we’re headed.

In his book, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, psychology professor Martin Seligman encourages reflection and renewal, “weigh up your life once a year. If you find you are getting short weight, change your life. You will usually find that the solution lies in your own hands.”

In summarizing Growing @ the Speed of Change, I boiled down the book’s key research and personal development approaches to changing our habitual or automatic and unconscious thinking and actions with more deliberate and carefully chosen perspectives and actions.

As you reflect on this year and prepare for the next, perhaps some of these points will help ensure you’re on the right course:

  • Life is change. It’s unpredictable and can be very turbulent.
  • Crap happens. The sooner we accept what we can’t change, the sooner we can get on with changing what we can.
  • There is no objective reality. We’re all creating it for ourselves.
  • Life is an optical illusion. We change our reality by changing our perceptions.
  • Through our mind-body connection, we can activate our Placebo Effect by our beliefs, expectations, and explanatory style.
  • When dealing with change and adversity, we can wallow, follow, or lead.
  • The more we wallow below the line in the swamp of fear, the more worry, and stress we radiate and magnetize. This can perpetuate a dangerous downward spiral.
  • To reduce any negative luck that’s being attracted to us, we need to positively charge our energy force field.
  • Leadership is an action, not a position. We all need to lead and live above the line.
  • We can intelligently choose and change our emotions and dramatically change our lives.
  • Three core questions at the center of our being are where we’re going, what we believe in, and why we exist.
  • Visualization and imagery are key skills in changing our expectations and positively charging our magnetic energy fields.
  • The more we align our lives to our core values and strengths, the happier and more successful we’ll be.
  • Our happiness grows exponentially with increases in our attitude of gratitude.
  • We can reprogram our habits by consciously hypnotizing ourselves with affirmations of the characteristics or mindsets we want to strengthen.
  • We can reclaim our time and our lives by not letting others “should” on us and not allowing daily urgencies to crowd out what’s truly important.
  • The more mindful we are of this present moment and observing ourselves, the higher is our enjoyment of the here and now.
  • Forgiving people and forgetting past wrongs purges poison from our bodies and empties the sack of stones that sinks us deeper in the swamp.
  • Pushing ourselves to have courageous conversations strengthens our leadership muscles and keeps us above the line.
  • Upward leadership is as important as leading peers or people at home, in our community, or anyone reporting to us.
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength and confidence that shows we’re intelligently using all the resources available to us.
  • We increase our influence by increasing our persuasion skills and building networks and collaborations.
  • Ongoing personal growth increases our emotional intelligence, leadership skills, and ability to deal with life’s constant changes.

As Neil Pasricha writes in You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life, “one way we need to get to awesome is by mastering the ability to turn off the noise from everything around us in order to sit in those tiny little ponds of tranquility where our thoughts and ideas can scramble and ferment and marinate and grow…we need to find space. Space where we can escape. Space where we can process. Space where we can reflect. Space where we can get off the deck, climb up to the captain’s chair, and make sure our ship is really going the right way.”