New Year Wishes And Power of Pivot

31st December to 2nd January seems to be the official period for wishing people Happy New Year and prosperity and new heights and what not.

Those who are over enthusiastic start sending wishes on 31st morning, most people send them on 1st January…and few who party hard, send the messages on 2nd, after the hangover is over. Just to highlight how utterly pointless the new year messages are, try sending one on 13th or 27th January. I have done it few times and in fact that has led to more interesting and stimulating chat!

I don’t mind harmless “Happy New Year” and “Good health, prosperity, fortune” etc. messages but I get really irritated by the preachy, motivational messages.

For example, the (really long) one below, which I just received:

“January 1st is an extraordinary day. It marks the start of new beginnings, a clean slate, and an abundance of new opportunities to be, do, and have anything truly want.Decide to stretch yourself this year. Don’t set simple resolutions or small goals.
Dig deep and go beyond what you think you can achieve at this moment.
Then, once you’ve decided what you want, start – and then keep – moving in that direction. Fiercely commit to your goal and believe that you can achieve it, and you’ll start to see new  opportunities and solutions around you.
The growth you’ll experience throughout this process will improve your self-image, increase your confidence, raise your vibration, and make it easier to stretch yourself in other areas of life.
You are worthy and capable of all the good you can imagine. Don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate, don’t minimize – start going for the life you really want today”

The irony was that the message was forwarded by a person who is a certified Lazy person (or to make it sound politically correct, “differently motivated”) and a perpetual procrastinator. I am sure he didn’t even read the entire message, let alone feel motivated by it. Anyways…

I am not so much irritated by the nonsense, hollow self-help bookish preaching in the entire message. That’s fine. There would be few (billion) people in some corner of the world who like (forwarding) such messages.

However I was really annoyed by the first paragraph and especially the very first line: ” January 1st is an extraordinary day”.

No, it is NOT! Everything else said in the message can be done from any day of the year. You don’t have to wait for the “extraordinary 1st January” to change your life, or anything else. You can very well do it from, let’s say, 5th June.

(Why 5th June? Well, 3 great thinkers and economists were born on that day – father of Economics Adam Smith, Nobel laureate John Maynard Keynes, and…well keep guessing!)

So what’s so special about 1st January? It can be explained by confluence of many concepts/notions. But the key ones are “Shared Knowledge vs Personal Knowledge”, Power of Pivot (or Anchor), power of incentives/peer pressure and finally the Snowball effect or flywheel effect.

Personal Knowledge is about what “I know”. Shared  Knowledge is about what “We know”. I can start changing myself any day. However, I also know that many would start changing themselves from 1st January, because that day has been marketed for decades (and well bought now) as the “new beginning” or “clean slate” etc. It was probably one of the first (and strongest?) marketplace created so that anybody could sell things using “New Year” pivot. 

Psychology of herds suggests that the more people accept “1st January” pivot and resolve to do something, the more peer pressure it would generate on others to feel miserable for not changing themselves and to join the bandwagon (except for stubborn people like myself!).

I am not even through with my “to do” and “to become” list of 1999…why should I feel compelled to chase something new on this “extraordinary day”? And if at all I have to, then I would rather do it on a day of my choice. I will choose my own pivot!

P.S.: Belated Happy New Year! May this year bring you good health, lots of wealth and change your life forever…exactly the way it did last year, or the years before 🙂

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