Now writing at 10:20 PM, less than two hours before 2019 starts.

After watching an investigatory film, I opened my Facebook messenger to see if there are any new messages. To my surprise, I got a handful of encouraging notes to continue what I’ve been producing with my content – a few tips here and there, advice from my own Facebook page, and now that I just came back to blogging, some good “how-to” articles to help people do better in business and in life.

As we end this year, let me give seven personal lessons I learned, may not all necessarily from this year, because some have been just emphasized (or relearned). A few lessons that are new to me, and most of all principles that I’ll bring from 2018 to this year and to the rest of my years (hopefully they’re still relevant until my last age).

1. More than the motivation: inspiration with discipline

To be honest, I’ve been part of a set of people who used to be looking for motivation from external sources – may it be finding and reading quotes of top personalities (speakers/authors/ministers), reading self-help books, watching videos, and chit-chatting people to get motivated.

However, in the days where you don’t have the drive and will to keep moving forward and are being tempted to slack off the whole day (even while you’re in the office), discipline is a must.

Discipline comes with the inspiration that pulls you toward a transformation and change that must be made. It lasts, and it may be hard at the beginning, but when you’ve always pushed yourself to do things right, you end up getting better results.

Self-discipline is one key to success. With discipline, you learn, you grow, and you move towards your goal.

Motivational part, in most cases, is just movement of emotions, is short-lived. It doesn’t sustain your growth. You heard a great speaker in a seminar, then once he went off the stage, your emotions die down, and so that temporary motivation goes down.

With inspiration that is accompanied with discipline, you draw something from the inside – your purpose, your core values, your mission and vision in life. And with the right thinking and proper attitude and skills, you combine them all to do what you can do best every single day.

2. Get wise counsel

I don’t know everything. And even in my fast-paced learning moments, I can’t assure myself I could understand how to manage ambiguities in life. There are instances when I don’t know what to do, and the only way to make the right decisions is to ask for counsel and advice from trusted and credible people.

Why do I have to emphasize trusted and credible? Because not all of the people around you are credible — they may listen to your stories, but haven’t gone through the almost same problems that you face. The ones that are credible are the people who’ve had experiences similar to yours, overcame difficulties if there are, and they have the same core values — these are the ones you and I should be looking for.

And trusted — you know people you’ve told your secrets before, and later on, found out that they shared it away to their friends? This is the saddening truth of life.

Get counsel from as many godly, trusted and credible people so you would have different point views, pros and cons if you do this and that, be able to see your blindspots (we all have them, and we should all be aware) and from this, you and I will make up our minds with the guidance of the Lord.

3. Face problems head-on

I liked what Pastor Dennis said in his Instagram post, “Life is never kind to the areas we neglect.”

One neglect leads to another. And little did we know, it is one beginning of an unexpected disaster in our lives.

If there are things that have to be fixed right away, do not neglect solving problems. Be intentional in facing them. Though we have the option to run away from it, sooner or later, we’ll encounter just the same problem, but now a bigger and wider one to solve.

In my line of work, we encounter different business problems, different clients with different personalities and issues in their businesses. I couldn’t just choose running away as my option. I have to talk to my colleagues, get them involved and make a firm decision on how to solve the issue.

4. Develop yourself so you can develop others; lead yourself so you can lead others

The good thing with reading books from different authors about one subject area (e.g., leadership) is that you’ll be able to widen your perspective on certain things that include best practices, relevant issues, and how the author addresses each need.

One common denominator that I’ve found to be true in all books is this point – lead yourself so you can lead others well.

Leading yourself is not bragging your position, your rights, and your abilities. You don’t drive yourself to prideful situations.

You lead yourself to servicing many people, to self-denial, to self-sacrifice, and to self-development. Because once you grow and become more valuable, you can add significant value to a friendship, mentorship, and leadership in all areas. The value itself once applied and taught to subordinates will bring tremendous growth to your organization.

5. Be careful with who you listen and watch

These days is the age that we can Google everything we want to know. But not wisdom and insights.

It takes some time to identify who is telling the truth and who is just giving you shallow advice. It takes some critical thinking skills to separate the wheat from the chaff, and bones from the meat.

That is why learning is important for you to see both sides of the story and issue.

More ideas aren’t equated to better ideas. Some ideas are just cluttered that can confuse the mind and misdirect to its intended purpose. Some ideas are shallow and don’t have any substance.

Be careful with what you put into your mind.

By God’s grace, I have become more careful and discerning this year than last year.

6. Simplify productivity

We sometimes overcomplicate things. And yes, I do that most of the time.

One example is that I always lean on tools and devices to improve my productivity for the past years. Without several apps and offline tools, I tend to lose focus and knew for sure I couldn’t accomplish my big priorities in the day.

This year, I have simplified things. I use my journal where I put all my priorities (Big 3) for the day. And with a little help of Google Calendar to schedule activities, I could easily see where my commitments are in place. Fewer tools, more productivity.

Two weeks ago, I purchased my own set of Full Focus Planners from the Michael Hyatt team – helping me set my goals in writing (both achievement and habit goals), put my daily priorities and schedules on paper. A planner, journal and a calendar – classic yet helpful.

Because productivity is not about the tools, it is about the system and the person doing it.

These tools, whether they are free or not, won’t be a big help, in my opinion, without self-discipline and 20,000 feet perspective on your goals for the year.

7. Build your foundation and know life essentials

What brings me hope? What keeps me going? Who am I? Why do I need to do all that I am doing? Purpose, visions, mission, goals, identity, morality (ethics) — though you and I heard them all the time from many sources, if they are not determined and clarified, we can easily be swayed by the wind.

What is essential to you? What is essential to me? With all the material things in this world, what makes your life worth-while to live?

If testings come and we’re not prepared to answer those mentioned above basic existential questions of life, we are in trouble.

So I ask you to search for the deeper meaning of life. You only have 75 or 100 years to live, every hour and minute counts. So make it count.

< End —11:07 PM, will go back to watching movies. Happy New Year everyone!