2020 Annual Reflection on Growth
Thoughts from an unprecedented year
2020, a year like no other, shed light on perspective, perseverance, and most importantly, gratitude. I began the year, as most people do, setting out New Year’s resolutions, personal and professional development goals, and of course, a long list of travel destinations. I was so specific on what I wanted to achieve by December 2020 that looking back on all that has happened this year, these goals feel like they’re from another lifetime. The single most important lesson I learned this year is that the unpredictability of life is unparalleled. We cannot plan our lives 5 years in advance, let alone 365 days. We truly have to live in the here and now, for tomorrow brings the unknown.
It’s no doubt that 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year, given the ever-growing list of unprecedented events. Some days felt like weeks and some months felt like an entire year. Each individual has gone through their own version of this time, fighting their own set of battles. No one individual's suffering is superior to another’s. We have all collectively gone through 2020 together.
Although 2020 presented the unexpected, I want to highlight the many things I am grateful for;
First and foremost, I am grateful for all the mental and emotional growth that I experienced this year.
I am grateful for the lessons learned from dealing with the challenges of the unknown.
I am grateful for the lessons learned about the psychological behavior patterns of emotions such as fear, anxiety, and hope.
I am grateful for the lessons learned about the ego; understanding when the ego is at play and when it is threatened.
I am grateful for the human desire for social interaction, friendship, family, support systems, and social ecosystems.
I’m grateful for the love, compassion, and strength provided by my support system and personal board of advisors.
I am grateful for the lessons of how we, as humans, don’t need a lot to be happy.
I am grateful for all of those on the front-line who showed up to keep us safe.
I am grateful to be healthy, alive, and most importantly, living.
2020 taught me that no matter how much we crave to be in control, we simply cannot control external circumstances. We need to look at what is right in front of us, accept our defeats, and move forward with what we have. When our external world is full of negativity, we must seek within for positivity and strength.
For those who had it tougher than most this year, my prayers and thoughts are with you.
For those who lost their source of income due to the virus, my prayers and thoughts are with you.
For those who are at higher risk of infection, my prayers and thoughts are with you.
For those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19, my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.
2020 Learning Log
Below is a list of books, documentaries, podcasts, and mentors who have guided me through this year of immense growth.
📚 Reading List:
- Man’s Search for Meaning — Viktor E. Frankl
- Factfulness — Hans Rosling
- Harry Potter Saga — J.K Rowling
- The Ride of a Lifetime — Robert Iger
- The Power of Now — Eckhart Tolle
- Hooked — Nir Eyal
- Change by Design — Tim Brown
- Zero to One — Peter Thiel
- Atomic Habits — James Clear
- The Making of a Manager — Julie Zhuo
- Educated — Tara Westover
- Girl Decoded — Rana El Kaliouby
- Born a Crime — Trevor Noah
- The Courage to Be Disliked — Ichiro Kishimi
- More Than Enough — Elaine Welteroth
- Ikigai — Hector Garcia Puigcerver
- Being Mortal — Atul Gawande
- The Vanishing Half — Brit Bennett
- Funny Boy — Shyam Selvadurai
- Measure What Matters — John Doerr
- How to Be an Antiracist — Ibram X. Kendi
- Think Like a Monk — Jay Shetty
- Why We Sleep — Matthew Walker, PhD
- Siddhartha — Hermann Hesse
A Reading List: Navigating Uncertainty During COVID-19
A Quarantine Edition for Reflection and Personal Growth
- Athlete A
- The Untold History of the United States
- The Social Dilemma
- Totally Under Control
- Becoming Michelle Obama
- The Game Changers
- The Call to Courage
- Knock Down the House
- Miss Americana
- A Life On Our Planet
- The Great Hack
- Vox Media
- The Crown
- Diana: In Her Own Words
In addition, there is a long list of films and movies that were binge watched during lockdown which are saved on my Netflix account. I’ll move on for now.
- Hidden Brain — Shankar Vedantam
- The Knowledge Project — Shane Parrish
- 10 Percent Happier — Dan Harris
- Today Explained — Vox
- The Michelle Obama Podcast — Michelle Obama
- On Purpose — Jay Shetty
- Bloomberg Studio — Emily Chang
- Business Casual — The Morning Brew
- The Creative Confidence Podcast — IDEO
- 1619 — The New York Times
- Tales of Silicon Valley — The Times
- TED Talks Daily — TED
- The Daily — The New York Times
- How I Built This — NPR
- The Economist Radio — The Economist
- Global News Podcast — BBC World Service
- Rana El Kaliouby
- Shankar Vedantam
- James Clear
- Naval Ravikant
- Shane Parish
- Julie Zhuo
- Bill Gates
- Melinda Gates
- Barack Obama
- Michelle Obama
- Brené Brown
- Tim Ferriss
- Jay Shetty
“Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it” — the Dalai Lama
Thanks for tuning in, see you next year!