Resolve and Resolution in 2010

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on January 4, 2010

Dateline:  January 2nd, 2010.  Location:  Earth, North America.
Note to self:  First post of the new year.  Gotta make this count.

Hello.  Thanks for stopping by my blog today.  Normally, I blog about persuasive communication and skillful living as a means to positive change.  Today, however, I want to share a New Year resolution with you.  First, as if you were going to ask, here’s my take on 2010.

This is Earth.  It’s amazing here.  Always has been.  The older I get, the more obvious it becomes that we have everything we need on our planet for everyone to have a great life and for our posterity to have a great life as well.  We have all the know how to give ourselves an upgrade in accommodations, to make life safer, better, healthier and more abundant for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities.  Not by redistributing wealth, and not by selfishness either. But we can look out for each other because it’s in our own interest.  And we can design systems that benefit ourselves by acting to the benefit of others.

Simple observation demonstrates that we all seem to know this.

After all, what’s the point of New Years celebrations?  New Year is a time for us to celebrate any little change for the better in our world (or notice where it’s missing), to benchmark our progress, as we check in on our collective self on a date that we’ve surrounded, at least in most of the world, by great fruh frah and hoorah.  And if we mistake drunken promises and wishful thinking with resolution, so what?   It feels good to declare ourselves, regardless of whether we’re aiming at luxury or necessity, or just hoping for progress

But truth to tell, this advancing by dates on the calendar is sober business.  Because this is Earth.  It’s hard here.  For everyone.  You and me.   We’re all working it out here. We’re certainly facing plenty of challenges, each of us and all of us.  Money challenges. Health challenges.  Relationship challenges. Community and national challenges. None of the larger challenges (national and international) we face are insurmountable, I don’t think.  Not yet, anyway.  We still have choices.  We still can work it out.

Social proof that we can work it out?  I’m reminded of this each night that I look up into the sky.  I think of the astronauts working together on the international space station to learn about life off this planet.  They  might have been enemies at earlier moments in the timeline of history.  But not now. They are a team now, Americans, Russians, Japanese, (and on other missions, other nationalities) organized around shared values, interests and desires.

Shout out to TJ Creamer, @Astro_TJ, and the rest of the ISS crew

Why do they do such a thing as lock themselves into a floating collection of metal 200 miles above the planet for months?  To them, it’s a simple equation. They want to make a better future, not just for themselves, but for their loved ones, their communities and countries.  To make a better world for us all.  I think what they’ve done to get there and are doing up there in space is downright heroic.

Then again, I think that the efforts of anyone to live a worthwhile life and leave a positive legacy is heroic.  Because it’s not just astronauts who work together for good.  Lots of people do.  We can’t help it. We’re made that way, most of us anyway.  Of course we want to help bring about positive change.  Of course we want to help each other do the same.  Of course we want a better tomorrow. It’s just that our lives are busy, our circumstances seemingly complex, and the number of variables outside of our control is astonishing.  We need resolve.  And we need resolution, which comes from extracting and integrating the learnings of history so we’re not doomed to repeat them.

You’ve no doubt heard it said that if more people want a better future, if enough of us want a better future, we can have it.  I believe that.  The problem is we don’t know what number of people constitutes ‘enough.’   Still, the useful assumption is that we’re on the cusp of a brighter tomorrow, and just you and a few other people could make the difference.   The useful assumption is that initiative is the work of individuals more than it is of groups.  The useful assumption is that whatever you do to contribute to a better tomorrow makes a difference in ways that may be invisible in the moment but obvious over the arc of history.

So that’s the buildup. Now, here’s my proposal.  All change starts somewhere.  Let’s you and me be resolved to unburden from the stress of resisting life as it is.  No more relying exclusively on fighting and fleeing from what we don’t want in ourselves and in each other.  Instead, let’s take our learnings and focus them forward on desired outcomes, and then organize ourselves to achieve them.  Let’s ask ourselves the questions that carry us forward.  What future do we want?  How can we get there?  How can we help others get there?  What are our next obvious steps?

I know that lots of people are doing this already.  Hopefully, you are.  If not, or you don’t think that you’re doing enough, well there’s no time like the present  to get busy building the future.

Pardon the phonological ambiguity, but if enough of us are doing this, we can really call this place a Plan It (planet).  I think that’s how the crew on the International Space Station wants it to be.

Of course turning an outcome into action, in space and on earth, may require an attitude shift, from resisting to choosing and engaging.   Such a change in attitude and approach, at work, at home, and anywhere else goes a long way to making things right for more of us, and perhaps in pretty short order.

Which brings me to a useful distinction, the difference between a resolution and a commitment.  A resolution is a thing you tell yourself.  A commitment is a resolution you absolutely intend to do.  And if you’ve cultivated in yourself a sense of being able to depend on yourself, then it makes sense to make a commitment to depend on yourself to do a few things better in the years to come.

What future do we want?  How can we get there?  How can we help? What are our next obvious steps? I think these questions are the beginning of the conversation that our world’s leaders should be having with each other.  I think that’s the kind of conversation we can all be having with each other.

Well, not all.  Like I said, we just need enough.  I’m resolved.  You?

New year reverse Q&A.

  • Answer:   Because I want you to talk with me.
  • Question: Why do I always say that your comments are welcome?

So how about it?  What’s your take?

Be well,


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