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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Made Your New Year Resolutions? Make Them Your Lifestyle!

The Queen, in her annual Christmas message, referred to a quote, unattributed, which struck chord with me.

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"

The distinction between light and darkness permeates all religions and a great deal of literature where light is always seen to overcome darkness.

2,000 years ago the sages of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah, referred to light overcoming darkness at the creation. The sage Isaac Luria in the 16th century said that there was a spark of light in the nothingness (darkness) that contained all of space and time. Please note, it took Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity to define the concept of spacetime in the 20th century.

When the spark expanded the universe was created and darkness retreated. Again please note, this was written 500 years ago.

It is a remarkable description of the Big Bang theory of creation and long before clever scientists espoused it.    In essence it describes light as being both a physical and a spiritual phenomenon.

The remarkable facility of light to overcome darkness is exemplified by lighting a candle in an empty football stadium at midnight and even though there is total darkness all around, the candle light can be seen from any angle.

It is a wonderful metaphor for positive and negative thinking. 

There are "light" and "dark" words in our language that can create an atmosphere in a conversation even without realising it.  For example:

         Light                   Dark
         Yes                     No
         And                     BUT
         Happy                Sad
         Bright                 Dull
         Grow                  Diminish
         Like                    Dislike
         Love                   Hate         

and there are many others. The most insidious is that all-pervading word "BUT".  Someone once told me that word eliminated everything said before it and everything said subsequently was negative.  Quite a thought.

In fact we had a speaker to my Vistage CEO peer group some time ago who banned the use of BUT for the whole morning and it was quite extraordinary how the level of discussion turned to the positive.

We live in a world where the vast majority of media news is sad, bad or generally dark and it takes an effort of will to overcome it.

I do recall someone saying that he was constantly reading about the dangers inherent in alcohol so he had given up - reading.

Do a test this year.  Just listen out for Dark words insidiously intruding into your conversation and either eliminate them or try to replace them with Light words.

The whole tenor of the conversation can change and for the better. It is certainly worth a try.

We need light in our lives more than ever and anything that we can do to achieve that end is to be applauded. 

The best possible New Year resolution is, in the words of the old song, to
"Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative", in the words of the old song

I wish you all a happy, prosperous, peaceful, healthy and fulfilled 2016 filled with light to eliminate any darkness.


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