Last weekend, I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen for a long time. They were unanimously in agreement in a discussion about how year 2015 had been terrible for them. At some point in the course of their discussion, they would throw in some unfounded generalizations such as, “in fact, 2015 was the worst year for everyone.” I am referring to them as unfounded because they are not based on any study and I also know of a number of people who have declared year 2015 as their ‘magical’ year as far as their life pursuits are concerned. As we exchanged pleasantries, they ended their discussion with a fulfilling speculation that 2016 was a promising year.

It is the speculation of 2016 being a promising year that caught my attention. I remembered vividly how one of them had made the same speculation about year 2015 and even posted the same on his Facebook timeline. I even showed him that one-year-old Facebook post with that speculation and asked him a series of disturbing questions, “what went wrong? What makes you believe that the alleged promise of year 2016 is better than that of year 2015?” I guess my questions caught him by surprise and he went into an immediate reflection spree. We lost him for a minute and when he normalized, I changed the topic of discussion.

I have been thinking about the whole encounter and I realize that my friend’s view is not unique to him. A lot of us are affected. We have turned ourselves into auditors of years. We see promises in a year; we do nothing about our dreams and aspirations for the year and still expect the year to keep its promise. When the year ends, we audit it, discredit it and see a new promise in a new year. Tragedy is doing the same thing in the same manner and expecting different results.

Good people, success does not just happen, it is caused to happen. It’s a product of intentional and consistent actions. Years are just a measure of time. Time within which you need to execute well calculated actions for your aspirations to come true. Whether a year is promising or not does not count but your actions do count. We rarely work on our dreams, yet we expect them to actualize. We come up with lists of goals and resolutions and fold our arms expecting the illusionary ‘promises’ of the year to do the working for us and deliver to us our dreams in actualized form. That will not work. I am not a prophet of doom, but at least I know that only effort is rewarded. To turn things around, we must change our view of the world. We must change our approach. We must shun laziness, shortcuts and stop awaiting success miracles. We must begin to play our roles in defining ourselves. We must let our actions shape what happens within a year.

Remember, while you whine and complain about how a year has been terrible, someone else is celebrating how the same year has been of blessings in leaps and bounds. While you struggle establishing whether a year is promising or not, someone else is planning his/her actions on how to achieve their goals in the same year. Whereas not all goals may be achieved in a year due to factors beyond explanation, it’s always fulfilling to know that you played your part maximally. Excellence is not a measure of your achievements against your peers’ but your achievements against your potential for achievement. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “there is no passion in living a life that is less than that which you are capable of”.

Ensure you are always working on something that will deliver your aspirations. Success is the sum total of our daily actions. Do not shy away from confronting the question, “what am I working on?” If there is nothing you are working on at any given time, your destiny is delaying to take shape. Your daily actions shape your destiny. Inaction delays your vision. Swing into action today and watch successful episodes begin to unfold in your life because you are destined for greatness. you can do better!

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