UAC 128 | New Year's Resolutions


It’s easy to forget one’s new year’s resolutions, but there are certain principles you can follow to make sure your new year is much better. It’s all in the way you view you life and the actions you create. Thane Marcus Ringler discusses the different lenses through which you can make decisions and actions for the new year. Hoping to make a change in yourself, but it doesn’t feel like it’s sticking? Take charge of your life today!

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Three Lenses For Shaping The New Year

This is all about learning how to live a good life, which we believe takes having intention in the tension. Life is filled with many tensions and daily, we have to live in the middle of those. We believe intentionality is the key. Thanks for tuning in and being a part of the Up and Comers community, this Up and Comers Movement. We’re glad you came. It is the new year and it’s a new decade. It’s been a sweet time of reflection. Looking back at the last year and the last decade and looking ahead at what’s to come and even what’s to come in the next ten years. I know it was a lot of fun for me to sit down, journal, think, reflect, project and dream about it. I hope that you got to do a little bit of that.

UAC 128 | New Year's Resolutions


If you didn’t get to tune into episode 127, it talks a little bit about my process, what I wanted to do and what we went through in wrapping up the last decade well and in starting a new one well. Before we get to this episode, there are few things I’d love to remind you of. One, if you want to help out the show, the best way to do that is by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. It takes about one minute of your time. It’s such a great way for us to be found by more people. The second-best way is to send this episode or one that you enjoyed to a friend or several people in your community. If you wanted, a personal text is always the best. If you wanted to post it online, we’d also love the support that way.

Finally, if you want it to give financially, we do have a Patreon account where you can donate monthly to help us keep the lights on and keep the show going. We are also actively looking for partners, so if you want to partner with our show and support our mission as we support yours, definitely reach out at We are an all the socials, @UpAndComersShow. Tune in and send us a shout out. This is going to be a solo episode sharing a few thoughts for the new year. One of the practices I love doing that my sister got me started on over a few years ago was picking a word of the year. A word of the year is often an easier thing to hang onto than a resolution or something that can often slip our minds and not happen longer than a month or even be thought of longer than a month into the year.

UAC 128 | New Year's Resolutions


Word of the year is a great way to have a simple objective or idea about what the year ahead holds and also see how it shapes and shifts as we go through the year ahead. I can’t recommend it enough. If you want to hear what my word of the year is, go check out the blog I posted called Why I Write (and My 2020 Word of the Year). I’ll leave that as a little teaser. I get to share what my word of the year is and if you enjoyed it, I’d love to hear from you and hear what your word is so send me a little note.

UAC 128 | New Year's ResolutionsInstead of talking about resolutions or even what word of the year to pick, I thought it might be helpful to start the year thinking about some helpful lenses for the year ahead. Our perspective is so much like a lens and talking about the different lenses that we can wear to help guide, shift and shape our perspective so that we can better support one another is a worthy use of time. Part of the challenge in our modern society is the lack of support that we receive or feel from our fellow humans. While we are more connected than ever before, we are also more disconnected in human to human interactions, which is also known as real life than ever before. This leads to the three core needs that we all have as human beings, which is being seen, being heard and being connected to something larger than ourselves.

It leads to those three core needs not being met on a consistent basis and sometimes not even met at all. The way change start is always with us on an individual or personal level. One of the tools we can use to help us grow individually in this area is to improve our awareness and our perspective on the daily interactions of life. This is where I believe the three lenses come in and just like sunglasses, there’ll be situations where one may apply better than the other. Let me share the three lenses.

The first lens is the self-assessment lens of fear versus love, also known as scarcity and abundance. As you may remember in episode 107, I shared the two core emotions that we operate from on a daily basis. It’s either fear or love. Every other emotion will stem from one of these two places. Fear stems from a place of scarcity whereas love stems from a place of abundance. This is why this distinction can also be framed from the question of whether I am operating out of scarcity or abundance. When we are operating from a place of fear, we cannot truly or fully love the other. Instead we ended up resorting to closing ourselves off from them, on one hand, often seen through avoiding them or we try to control them through some form of power. Neither of these paths is helpful for ourselves or for the other individual.

When we are operating from a place of love, we are able to see others and strive to love them as we would want to be loved. Click To Tweet

Fear Versus Love

When we are operating from a place of love, we are able to truly see the other human and strive to love them as we would want to be loved. Love in my definition is simply preferring the other, which means putting the needs of another before our own. We cannot remind ourselves enough of this lens throughout our days, even since recording episode 107. I’ve often forgotten about this helpful distinction and this helpful rubric for examining why I’m doing what I’m doing and whether or not it is helpful. The better we get at pausing to ask ourselves, “Am I operating out of love or fear in each situation, conversation or decision?” the better we will be able to support one another as we strive for growth and good in the world together. The first lens is fear or love. Am I operating out of love or out of fear?

Observation Versus Judgment

The second lens is a distinction between observation and judgment. I wrote a blog post about this titled The Unifying Power of Observation. The goal of this blog post was helping highlight the small but powerful distinction between a judgment and an observation. The question I posed was, “What would society look like if we made less judgments and more observations?” Some of the reasons we tend to default instinctively to judgment are that either we like to view ourselves as better than the other because we crave control and we love security. Because it is the easier path to take and it allows us to avoid the need to change. It’s easy to instinctively default to judgment.

UAC 128 | New Year's Resolutions


Not all forms of judgment are hurtful. The helpful kind of judgment is when it’s kept to the realm of specific situations and is based on a higher authority than the individual who is making the judgment while also resisting the temptation to make broad, sweeping conclusions on the person or situation as a result of that judgment. I am afraid we are all well acquainted with what the hurtful form of judgment entails. I will spare the examples for now, but in summary, it entails a judgment that is usually preferential, personal and based on the individual’s authority. It draws conclusions that aren’t fair to anyone or anything especially yourself.

I love the quote by William Ury. He said, “Statements generate resistance whereas questions generate answers.” The more helpful question to ask ourselves in light of this lens is, what would happen if we all became better observers? To make it more specific, what would happen if you become a better observer? As I mentioned, judgments can be helpful or hurtful and more times than not they are hurtful. I find this to be especially true in the small circumstances and interactions of daily life. Judgments tend to classify and sort people out based on our own personal conclusions and standards, which inevitably creates an us versus them environment instead of a we environment, an environment of shared humanity.

UAC 128 | New Year's Resolutions


Morgan Housel has one of my favorite quotes also who said, “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world, but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. We’re all biased to our own personal history.” What I’m not advocating is to remove all judgment from our lives and from society. What I am proposing is the idea of actively replacing our daily momentary judgments with observations. Observations mean that we simply see the thing for what it is. An observation is all about being a better seer of things, not a better judger of things. By actively replacing judgments with observations, I believe we will become more unified, empathetic and humble people in a time when those traits seem to be rapidly disappearing. That is the second lens, the lens of observation versus judgment.

Hearing Versus Listening

The final lens that I would like to propose is the distinction between hearing and listening. Hearing versus listening. Sounds of all types can be heard and can also be listened to. We often use these terms interchangeably because they are so close in meaning. The distinction is so important that I believe it has the power to radically change our relationships and our ability to effectively love and support one another. Many times, I’ve gone to a cafe to work or write or read which is one of my favorite things to do. When I do, there’s a major difference in my productivity when I’m simply hearing the background noise versus listening to it.

UAC 128 | New Year's Resolutions


Every now and then my intention may shift and latch onto a nearby conversation. When my interest is piqued, it shifts from simply hearing the voices to fully listening to them. As you can imagine, zero writing, reading or work gets done when I’m listening. That’s the point, listening is an active engaged form of hearing. Hearing is often both passive and disengaged. In our daily conversations that we have, how often are you listening versus hearing the other person? With how distracted our minds have become due to the incessant noise of the culture and world we live in, our default has become to simply hear what’s being said. We may not be paying much attention to it, but we’re still listening or so we say.

In reality, we are rarely listening to what’s truly being said. Listening does not entail simply listening to the words that are being voiced, but rather to the message underlying those words, to the things that aren’t being said but are being implied and communicated. Often, we fail to say what we truly mean. If the other person isn’t fully listening and instead just hearing our words, they will miss what we’re trying to communicate entirely. One of the greatest gifts that we can give someone on a daily basis is an active listening ear. By being engaged with what another person is saying, we are showing them that they are of worth and value worthy of our time, energy and attention. The power in something as simple as this cannot be overstated. The more consistent we can become at priming ourselves to listen instead of just hearing, the better we will be able to love, support and care for one another. This allows us to be the change we wish to see in the world. That is the third lens, hearing versus listening.

Judgments can be helpful or hurtful, and more times than not, they are hurtful. Click To Tweet

The three lenses again are fear and love. Am I operating out of fear or am I operating out of love in this situation, circumstance, conversation or decision? It’s also known as scarcity and abundance. The second lens is observation versus judgment. How can I make an observation instead of judgment in this situation? How can I be curious about what’s happening? The third lens is hearing versus listening. How can I prime myself to tune in and actively listen to what’s being said so I can truly understand and love the other person? These are three lenses that I think can drastically improve our love, support and care for one another as human beings. There’s no greater mission to get behind it than that. It is a worthy cause, a worthy practice, a worthy discipline for each of us to embrace. As we move into 2020, this new year and this new decade, I want to challenge each of you as I challenge myself to be mindful and carry these three lenses with you as you go about your day. It will make a massive impact. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time.

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