New Year’s Fireworks

Let Jeffrey inspire you to light the fireworks for the New YOU!

I’ve always wondered why we launch fireworks on New Year’s Day to celebrate the arrival of the New Year aside from the obvious aesthetics. Fireworks are the expression of our curiosity and awe of the world we live in. Launching a firework into the air is the cognitive equivalent of finding a state of flow and letting it burst into inspiration, creating something that the masses enjoy and desire more of. Besides, a massive sparkly fireball in the sky is much more exciting than looking at the time change from 11:59 to 12:00. It adds anticipation to our arrival at an arbitrary point in space as we careen through the cosmos around the sun and in the system we call home. This point in space has no cosmological meaning, but we celebrate it anyways, marking it as a time of renewal.

The New Year has begun. What we do now will dictate what will come. Around this time of the year, gym’s suddenly get a spike of new subscriptions from New Year hopeful’s trying to make their resolution work this time around often with predictable results. For this reason, there’s a certain skepticism that comes with any New Year’s resolution. Many people find that there isn’t a purpose to making these expectations for themselves because they won’t change their character in a day. They won’t eliminate habits or create new ones, and they’re right. You won’t make new habits in a day. If we had a habit switch, the productivity of each person would be astonishingly high. That doesn’t deter anyone from trying in any case, which is great. I think that persistence is one of the hallmarks of humanity. It gives people the ability to make something unlikely happen which is the point of making New Year’s resolutions, to make something that wouldn’t normally be done into a habit.

I get the idea that the NC State staff realize this little phenomena’s significance and work with it. I’ve gotten a barrage of emails since New Year’s about what I could do with my time from athletic endeavors to study abroad. It makes it a little easier to find and develop new good habits and opportunities. Kudos to them for that.

I’ve gotten a barrage of emails since New Year’s about what I could do with my time from athletic endeavors to study abroad. It makes it a little easier to find and develop new good habits and opportunities.

One event in particular strikes my interest. The Goodnight Scholars Program is offering a study abroad trip to China. I’m still deciding whether I should go or not, but I have to choose quickly since the application deadline is coming up fast. The Goodnight Scholars Program also offers an enrichment grant that helps students find funding for these kinds of educational opportunities. It’s a gate to inspiring activities and learning opportunities that can make a difference in your perspective and thus your future actions. It’s not limited to the Goodnight Scholars Program. These opportunities exist all over campus. As I have said in my previous blogs, opportunity exists here. Through MEP, I have been able to go see an astronaut. Through NSBE and SHPE, I have been able to meet great people on their way to making a difference in their disciplines and communities. You don’t even need to join extracurricular activities to find a new opportunity. Many of the professors here are engaged in fascinating research and all it takes to get involved is to ask. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it is always great to try.

Having these kinds of opportunities is like being given a set of matches and told that you can light the New Year’s fireworks. You get the opportunity to see great things done by other people, and possibly be able to accomplish in the future. It’s that drive to be curious and to persist that makes around us possible. It’s that drive to begin learning that leads to the habits that lead to success. I think that the people who are successful at completing their New Year’s resolution are those who think of the result rather than the process. A philosopher once said, “If you want men to build a boat, don’t give them tasks and instructions. Instead, teach them to love the immense mystery of the sea.” It’s not work. It’s a stepping stone. However, you have to use those steps to get anywhere. You can’t just talk about getting something done, you have to start it. A lot of people talk about their New Year’s resolution but end up completely abandoning it.

Destin, the host of the Youtube channel SmarterEveryDay, says it best.

“In a world of talkers, you have to be a thinker and a doer.”

Let’s make 2016 a great year, and get started on the future. There are opportunities everywhere. You just need to find the right ones, get started on it, and stick with it while keeping the end goal in mind.