2020: A Personal Odyssey. Missed Targets, and transformation too.

Exactly a year ago, at the dawn of the year 2020, I wrote several goals for the Dream Decade and its first year, the year 2020. I set targets for my hiking adventures, projected incremental financial goals for the company, and decided on personal financial goals. I made the loftiest goals for the year 2020. I wanted to do it all during the year 2020, Hike Mont Blanc, write five pieces of literature per month, double the revenues of the company, launch my ed-tech incubator, save for kids’ college, and the like. I was ready to make the year 2020, my best year yet!

As I look back at the year 2020 and compare my accomplishments to the targets, I set for myself, and I should be embarrassed for how little I accomplished those areas. However, I am happy that I did not succeed in these pursuits. In fact, more embarrassed about the stupidity and the transactional nature of the original targets for the year 2020, to begin with.

As I look back at these targets for the year 2020, All I can see is the hollowness of these projects. I set every goal to impress the world and not for my pursuit. Each of these goals is quantitative, focused on revenues, number of articles, heights of the mountains, etc. None of these goals were qualitative. As I reflect on the year 2020 on January 1st, 2021, I kept thinking of the shortcomings of the original targets.

Instead of just focusing on company revenues, I should have focused on becoming a more empathetic CEO.

Instead of only targeting kids’ college savings, I should have targeted being more present to my kids’ needs.

Instead of being completely enamored by the highest mountains with the most formidable death rates, I should have aimed for the mountains that teach me the meaning of life instead.

Instead of diligently counting the number of articles released, I should have aimed for one article that provides the highest quality content.

Most importantly, Instead of trying to impress the world, I should have tried to focus on impressing my inner conscience. When I finished redoing my list for 2020, I came to the profound realization that instead of criticizing my past self of January 1st, 2020, I should be celebrating my evolution in the last year. This evolution was possible only because of the pandemic.

As hard as 2020 has been with quarantines, a complete shutdown of social life, countless deaths, and unacceptable unemployment — it has been a truly transformative year for me. This year allowed me to continue my inward journey I started in 2019 and forced me to take a more in-depth look at myself without getting distracted by theatres, bars, restaurants, social gatherings, commutes to work, or other engagements that divert my attention away from self. The year 2020 allowed me to focus truly on my inner-engineering, identify my weaknesses, and take these shortcomings head-on; without getting distracted by unnecessary commitments. The quarantines allowed me to face my challenges. The additional time that I gained from working from home and not going to social gatherings afforded me the time I desperately needed to become a better parent, more empathetic CEO, and a more articulate writer. I am acutely aware that I am still very much short of the ideal states of the best parent, most empathetic CEO, and a published writer. However, I am not seeking perfection (at least not yet); I am just seeking betterment from the previous version of myself. I am a navel-gazing philosopher, at times. I enjoy the pursuit of excellence more than the end-state itself.

I am profoundly grateful for the challenges this year afforded me and could not have been more proud of my team for going above and beyond fighting crises at home and work. I can only imagine the disruption this called to my kids’ education as they tried to radically change from in-person learning to virtual learning to hybrid learning. I can see how this disruption can cause a long-term impact on their social, emotional, and intellectual maturity. However, I continue to stay optimistic that this transformation will allow them to reach their full potential. I am hopeful that they will understand that life can throw us ‘curve balls’ at times, and we just need to play along to persist.

All in all, 2020 gave me the time to reflect, space to transform, and tools to reenter the world as a better human being.

I look forward to a more adventurous journey in 2021 and beyond. I intend to make more realistic and qualitative plans for my evolution this year. My only hope is not to get embarrassed by the goals I set for myself a year from now.

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