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2015 - 5 things I'm grateful for

2015 will probably not stay in my memories as a year full of new things or experiences or as a year of finished things or changes. It was more a year of struggles. But in every year there are numerous things to be grateful for – here are 5 things I am grateful for that 2015 helped me to refresh them in my mind.

 

Things can change

 

And they can change faster than expected – to the better or to the worse. We tend to forget – especially if we haven’t seen change for a while. But it often does not take a lot. A change in the top of a company can make a huge difference. The culture and behavior of people can change overnight – from a nice place to work at it can change to a culture you don’t want to associate with – or vice versa. So it can go with countries as we have seen over the last years. Often this obviously does not happen overnight – there are signs beforehand that a situation is prone for change. But we tend to ignore them when we actually like the current situation – humans tend to outweigh positives but suddenly it can be too late to avoid the change to the worse or to organize change for yourself if you can’t avoid the change in that organization. On the other hand, we are often too negative about how much we actually can influence. Everything is made up by small pieces – and every bit counts. This is true for small things as your workplace and for big things as whole countries. On the latter we saw a lot of negative forces in 2015 – populist nationalistic haters got the stage, terrorists booked successes – and the trend to surveillance, limiting privacy and freedom of speech gained ground. About time to be aware of the changes in society – and to counteract in time!

 

People can change

 

Actually the first statement is not really true – as most of those things are made up by people and it’s the people that change and by that things change. The most visible changer in 2015 for me was Angela Merkel. Although I’ve never been a fan of her (comes already with the party she represents) I always was at least fond of her style of listening, thinking and then acting. But she never really led of voiced an opinion. 2015 showed that she actually has a vision – and the stomach to walk in the first line and to lead from the front. It needed the refugee crisis to make her to come out for her vision. The refugee crisis brought plenty of ugly faces to the front – all over Europe. But that caused plenty of others to come out and to show that there are also Europeans that actually live the human rights we always pretend to value high. Own people first – that was one of the slogans in a world that we hoped to have buried in 1945. Unfortunately, it’s still a slogan with many followers. No, of course – we can’t solve it all. But we always can do a bit – and a lot of bits add up to a lot. 2015 we saw a lot of people change – to the better or to the worse, but as the optimist I am I would say more changed to the better.

 

Don’t forget yourself

 

This is not a call to become selfish and egocentric – not at all (as you can also read in the next item below). But there is always the danger that we let others dominate our lives. What is important? How often do we look at others – what they have or do. Or what they think of us. Or what we think that they might think of us. Or what we think that they expect us to do. Or, or, or. Not only that we let ourselves lead to often by such thoughts – they can also cause unhappiness or worse. What also belongs here is all what we do for others while we forget ourselves. At the end we might achieve what they want – but with ourselves not being happy nobody wins. We ourselves not, but neither the people we care about and we might do this all for – as they will see us suffer and with that all other gains will irrelevant. To help others to enjoy life we have to enjoy ourselves, so don’t forget about what you need yourself to be happy.

 

Don’t forget others

 

A German proverb says “Geteilte Freude ist doppelte Freude“ (A joy shared joy is a joy double). There is a lot of truth in that. But it’s not only about sharing joy – it’s also about being there for others. Seeing others enjoy because you helped them or because you are just there and listen or give them company gives a lot of joy as well. Life is not about the material things but about things you enjoy – about the people you care about. And keep in mind that everything can change suddenly, so don’t take it for granted. Circumstances can change, people can change, life can change. Some changes we cannot influence, health e.g. (yes, a healthy life style helps, but it’s no guarantee) or being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But other thing we can influence – and being there for others can help to avoid a change we don’t want to see. But – keep in mind that this does not mean that you start to think for others. What you like or would need in a certain situation might not be what they like or need. Being there for others involves good listening – otherwise it will be a selfish feel good exercise.

 

Make time for things that count

 

That sums up everything above: Make time for yourself, make time for others and organize change!

 

 

 

Have a great 2016 – and make the new year your year!

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