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All right, let's be honest, how glad at you for 20/20 to be over, maybe there have been points during this year, maybe even far as back as spring will you just saw oh, why can't we just be on to 2021 already? If so, you're definitely not alone. I'm so glad you're with me today. I've really been looking forward to this episode. I think it's one of the most important ones that I'll ever record, especially right now, because I know that it's been a tough year for so many of us.


But I also know that where there's struggle, there's also a chance for learning and growth. And that's definitely been the case for me, even though 20/20 has brought challenges for all of us. Right. Some of us have lost someone. Some of us have lost something. It's important to to not give in to the temptation to just judge the moment or in this case, the year when we label something as good or bad. We cut ourselves off from the hidden gifts those experiences might be offering us.


There's an old Taoist parable I share in my book, Think Like a Monk, about a farmer whose horse runs away. How unlucky his brother tells him. The farmer shrugs. Good thing. Bad thing. Who knows? He says. A week later, the wayward horse finds its way home and where there is a beautiful, wild mare. That's amazing, his brother says, admiring the new horse with no small envy. Again, the farmer is unmoved.


Good thing. Bad thing. Who knows, he says. A few days later, the farmer's son climbs upon the mare, hoping to tame her. But the horse barks and ears and the boy holds the ground, breaks a leg. How one lucky his brother says. Good thing, bad thing. Who knows? The farmer replies again. The next day the young men of the village are called into military service. But because the sons like he's broken, he's excused from the draft.


His brother tells the farmer that this surely is the best news of all. Good thing. Bad thing. Who knows? The farmer says. I know what it's like you get that call with that disappointing news, maybe you didn't get the house or that apartment, you get an unexpected bill, you expect to break up. You didn't get that job you wanted you didn't get to go on that trip. Whatever it is, it's so easy to say this is terrible and it definitely feels horrible.


That's real. I don't want you to forget that. But I want you to reframe this. Earlier this year, one of my greatest spiritual mentors and teachers passed away. I'll tell you, I was devastated. I was further devastated because due to travel restrictions from the pandemic, I couldn't go to be at his memorial service. This was a double blow. I felt the weight and the loss of that in the depths of my heart. And as a bit of time passed, I started to ask myself how I might honor his memory.


And this is a shorthand version I'm sharing with you of what was actually a long and very deep process for me. But one of the things I realized was that the best way to honor his memory was to embody his teachings every day. And in that way, I could actually keep him alive in my life in a way that I felt connected with him every day. And that's been the case. I do feel deeply connected to him, even though he's no longer alive.


And it's also reminded me of some of the most important lessons he shared with me about living a life of compassion and kindness and service. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I've become the perfect example of his teachings. I definitely have an odd fall from it and it would take a lifetime. But honoring his memory in this way has definitely reminded me to strive for those things. And that's been incredibly positive for me in how I experience my life.


So it was extremely difficult and painful to lose him. And it's also brought me some really positive things.


Ray Dalio, who I've had here on the show, once told me this incredible formula that maybe you've heard me share before, it's pain plus reflexion equals progress. I'll repeat that for you. Pain plus reflexion equals progress. Now, the reason I love this equation so much is if you remove the word reflexion.


All you're left with is pain. That's how life works when we don't reflect or we're left with is the pain and the struggle. So why not add reflection and introspection to our lives so that we can all grow together?


And in that spirit, today, I'm sharing 20 lessons I've learned in 2020. Now, that's a long list. So let's get started. As I'm sharing this list with you, I encourage you to think of your own list. I want you to write down your 20 lessons of 20. Actually, I want you to take a screenshot right now. I want you to share them on Instagram. And I want you to tell me what are your 20 lessons from 2020 and tag me at Geddie on Instagram and I'd love to see what you're learning.


The first thing I learned in 2020, maybe not for the first time, but it really was underscored for me this year is that the only thing we know for sure is that we don't truly know anything. Right. Or as Temple University math professor John Allen Polla said, uncertainty is the only certainty there is. Earlier this year, in an interview with Dave Astbury, entrepreneur Simon Sinek commented on his irritation over the use of the phrase these uncertain times. There's never been a time that was set, and ever so many cynics said it's just that something happened that you didn't expect that reminded you that time is uncertain.


And he's so right about that. There's a Chinese saying that goes to be uncertain, is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous.


I love this one. Let me say there again, there's a Chinese saying that goes to be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous.


The reality is none of us are ever in control. Control is what monks can call Maya an illusion. And that relates to the second thing I learned in 2020, which is that adaptability is the greatest superpower. When I talk to actor Christian Bale earlier this year on the podcast, if you missed that one, make sure you go and listen to, especially if you're a Christian Bale fan. She said that making lots of what she called soft pivots have helped her husband and her manage the shifting challenges of homeschooling their kids, along with everything else going on at home.


It's like basketball, right? If you get the ball and you don't have a shot or the player you wanted to pass through is an open, you keep pivoting until you find that opportunity. I'll get back to basketball a little more in a minute. But I also love the metaphor of architecture, especially in California. Architects design buildings to be flexible so that when earthquakes happen, they can sway slightly the alternative if they're built to be firm and rigid, is that when earthquakes happen, things break right.


Think about this for a moment. The building that I used to live in when I first moved to L.A., I was told that it almost had roller skates underneath so that when there was an earthquake, the building would skate one way and then skate the other way. This is so similar to how we are, right? We're the same way that what happens in our life is if we're so rigid and strong in our foundation, which is a good thing.


But if we don't have that flexibility and adaptability when the earthquake of life comes and becomes really, really difficult to survive, there's that saying what doesn't bend breaks, right? If we can learn to be flexible, if we can learn to bend, that's a key element of resilience and we've sure learned a lot about that this year.


OK, here's the third lesson. I don't mean to be cheesy, but in a lot of ways I've learned what really matters. And I think a lot of us have, for a lot of us are external gratification was largely taken away from this year. We couldn't go out to movies, which I really miss or go to bars or clubs. I don't do those or even just a dinner. And I really miss those do. We couldn't go on trips.


I was so excited to go on my first book tour. You know, starting in spring, I was meant to be traveling all across the world. I was going to travel to India and Australia and Africa across the United States and back home in England. But more than that, I couldn't even travel to visit my family that was taken away. As I know, the ability to see family was taken away from so many of us. When our standards are stripped away like that, what you're left with is yourself and the opportunity there is to spend some of that time and space looking at you, looking at yourself, looking at how you're living your life, what choices you're making and how all of that is working for you.


What kind of person are you? Are you living your values? And I've checked in with myself in 2020. And I'll be honest, I made some adjustments in spaces where I came across things that I realized really weren't working for me in terms of behavior. It wasn't really reflecting my deep values. I think we all have those places we can either tweak or make major changes because we're all a work in progress. And as we have all of these external distractions, we can lose sight of some things.


And another thing we we're also left looking at is those who we live with. Right. And that's the fourth lesson I learned how important it is to be around the right people. I bet a lot of you out there are nodding in that one, too. Earlier this year, I watched the documentary series The Last Dance, about the six time champion Chicago Bulls, led, of course, by Michael Jordan. One of the things that really struck me was just how deep the team was and how it was that depth.


Not just having Jordan as the star, though, of course, that was huge. That enabled them to win so many championships. It really was a team effort and so is life. Maybe things feel like they're going OK and maybe they don't. But either way, take a look at your team, whether that's your family, your friends, your colleagues. Is everyone fully engaged? Is everyone appreciated for their unique skills and abilities? Is anyone detracting from what's possible?


Is your team helping you to achieve your full potential again, whether that's in life, in work or what have you or other people that are bringing you down?


The fifth lesson I learned is that the world has a lot of goodness. TV host Fred Rogers once said, When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. We often think of people such as health care workers as helpers, and they once again prove their dedication this year. But there is some surprise helpers as well. The delivery people, the postal workers who made sure we receive critical supplies, the grocery clerks who made sure we could be fed, and many others.


We don't often think of neighbors who took care of one another and saved animals during wildfires in the U.S. and Australia when given the chance to show humanity really is inherently good. Now, this statistic probably won't surprise you. The number of Americans suffering from depression and anxiety tripled this year due to the pandemic. Many of us already on the edge of burnout and already feeling a sense of loneliness and disconnection were pushed into overload. The one thing I learned is just how often so many of us struggle with loneliness and isolation.


My awareness of this really deepened this year, as so many of you reached out to ask me how to deal with mental health challenges. And I watched as so many social media stars and celebrities reach back to help others to offering support via their channels and raising awareness and money. Selena Gomez, for one, pledged to raise 100 million dollars over the next 10 years towards closing gaps in mental health support. And all of this caring had an impact on the levels of depression, and anxiety skyrocketed in the spring.


They have since fallen through their own compassion. These helpers have shown us what is perhaps this year's greatest lesson that our vulnerability is our greatest strength and that we are all stronger together. And that's the seventh lesson from this year. Sometimes more pain also brings more solutions to address that pain, just as it has done with mental health challenges. This year, we create more solutions when we connect. And this one's a big one, right? The eighth lesson for me this year is that we truly are all connected, that what we do or what we don't do truly has a ripple effect, positive or negative.


Yes, illness can spread virally, but so can love. What I do matters and what you do matters. And it really does affect other people when you start realizing how contagious energy is.


My ninth big lesson this year was that you really, truly never know what's going on in someone else's life. I think in some vague way we know that there's a saying that's been attributed to loads of people, including Plato, but it's one you may have heard some version of it be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a difficult battle. Maybe you're fighting a difficult battle right now. Lots of us are. And so think about that. How would you like others to treat you?


What if you were late turning in a piece of work because you were caring for a sick family member or you just can't make that one Zoome call with your family because you're so overwhelmed. What does it feel like if someone meets with anger or rigidity or aggression or judgment? And what does it feel like if instead they meet you with compassion, empathy and nonjudgmental? We could all use more kindness. Right. And I am using the experiences of 20/20 to remind myself of that.


The tenth lesson I learned this year is very much related to that, and that's this, you really don't know what you don't know. Right? I know I've talked in the past about the importance of developing good listening skills. One of those skills is learning. It's hard when we assume we know what others are going through. Often we project our own experiences on them. But I've been reminding myself this year to be open to learning about others issues and challenges, to letting them tell me what they're experiencing and what they're going through.


And I'm finding that not only am I learning more about the people I love and care about, just listening deeply is one of the best ways I can support them because they feel seen and heard. And again, wouldn't we all like to experience more of that in our lives?


OK, we're halfway through. I hope this is helping you. And I hope that you're making your list as well. As you can see, some of these are quick thoughts. Some of these are deeper and more profound. But I hope that they're resonating with you in a way that you can find your own lessons in this year, because when you learn the lesson, you don't have to go back to class. Think about that for a moment when you learned the lesson, you don't have to go back to the same class.


So when you say I never want to experience 20/20 again or I don't want to go through this again, we have to learn from it. All right. Let's move on to lesson number 11. Speaking of learning new things, my 11th lesson was a fun one, and that's that. Sometimes we learn from very unexpected places. Again, I'm going to refer back to the last dance. When I sat down to watch that, I was anticipating being entertained.


But that documentary ended up really making an impact on me. And I shifted some things in my life as a result. So being open to learning wherever it comes from is a big lesson of the years. Sometimes you going to learn from someone who treats you badly. Sometimes you're going to learn from the documentary you're watching. Sometimes you're going to learn from a podcast. Right. You're going to learn from so many different ways. And being open to always learning is so powerful.


Lesson number 12 was another one that hit me different.


And that's this again. So much was taken away from us this year. The things we normally do, we can no longer do, especially with regard to work. And lots of us gain a lot of our identity from work. Right. One of the things I really saw this year, though, was that for people whose purpose is linked to compassion and linked to service, there is never, ever a way for that purpose to be taken from you.


I found that when my book got pushed back, I could pivot and offer free meditations on Instagram and Facebook. And we had over 20 million people tuned in over 40 days to meditate every day together. And I'm going to do something similar for five days in January. I hope you'll join me as well. But it's amazing. Even though my book was pushed back, I had something else I could offer and then I could shift to my podcast to try and serve and adapt.


The point is you find certainty and uncertainty through service. So think about this. Think about in your life, how you can always choose to serve, because that way you never feel lost. Another thing a lot of us have found satisfaction in during this time is some of our close relationships. It's true that we haven't been able to spend time with all of the people. We'd have liked you this past year, but for lots of us, we've gotten a chance to become closer to others and have actually had a few new relationships developed this year that I'm really grateful for.


And I know we're lost. This was huge for me. I literally met two people through doing an event online where I was teaching a meditation and they've both just become incredible friends like really, really good friends. And it's amazing how none of that would have happened. There's another person that I've spent more time with this year than I ever have in the last two years of knowing them and their family.


And it's just been so fulfilling. Lesson number 13 was this, that in the dirt and muck of covid, flowers can still grow even in challenging times and maybe in some ways, especially in challenging times, relationships can grow and blossom if we notice and nurture them. I've made more new friends this year than I potentially have in the last four. And and it's amazing. I just didn't expect it. Lesson number 14 has to do with gratitude. This is a pretty simple one and I really bet you'll be nodding along to this one.


I'm not so grateful for so many everyday things I took for granted, dining out, traveling freely, so many more. The Seattle Times ran a list of things we miss, including in-person happy hours, Maskell's, grocery shopping and summer vacations. But the Times also included a second list of things we hope never come back, and that's less than 15. Disruption can be a great opportunity to get rid of things that don't serve us on. The Times list of things we hope don't come back are wearing restrictive office clothes, and I bet the dry cleaning bills that go with that to commuting and sitting in traffic and to bring it full circle, taking things for granted.


Now that we've broken out of some of these patterns and routine behaviors, we can decide what we actually want back when we have the opportunity and what we don't.


Lesson 16 and 17 also go together and they are how important family is and how important solitude is. And now I know some of you might be thinking, gee, I hate feeling lonely and I get that loneliness is a terrible feeling, but that's different from solitude. Paul Tillich was a minister and philosopher. He said Our language has wisely sense these two sides of man's being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.


It's amazing, right? Those of you that have been surrounded by too many people this year can't wait to have solitude. And so many of you this year who've been alone want to be around people. And I love that phrase, the glory of being alone. We probably appreciate the idea now more than ever. Right. So when we finally do get those opportunities to be alone, even if they're relatively short, let's savor that solitude. For me, less than 18 this year really had to do with going from macro to micro.


And what I mean by that is something a lot of you have experienced. Instead of having an office and a home and a gym, it's all become the same place. Right. We're cooking in the kitchen. Someone's working at the counter while maybe someone next to them is eating and someone else is on a Zoome call at the coffee table or you're doing a cardio workout or a yoga in your bedroom. Most of us weren't set up for this shift.


We didn't have a home office and a home gym. And for those of you with kids at school and a backyard park, instead, we've had to get really creative and create micro spaces where we had macro spaces. Your office is one corner of the dining table. I know I'm there sometimes and I'm alternating that space with my wife, too. We schedule things out to who needs what space is when maybe a gym became too dumbo's and an exercise mat and maybe a laptop or phone to stream workout videos.


And your coffee table became a school. And in all that micro sizing, we had to pare things down to what do we really need to make this work? OK, we need two feet of table space, an Internet connection, and hopefully some Choire or at least a low level of noise. We need a body length, long and arm's length wide space for exercise, or we need to take it outside when maybe we're used to an indoor studio or gym.


And that's been a great lesson for me, at least in asking myself in other areas, what is it that I really need here and what would I just like to have? But can I do without. And that ties into lesson 19 nearly there in 2020, I learned that we are so creative, we made things work, but we also made works of art in our own homes. We recreated famous masterpieces with everyday objects. We serenaded each other on balconies.


We had at home dance parties. One amazing guy danced the tango with himself as his partner in a giant mirror. In some ways, 20/20 was like creativity on parade. It really showed the best of us as we leaned in and supported one another, as we cried together and also as we laugh together, we were willing to make total fools of ourselves online just to make others smile and to relieve some of that stress we've all been going through.


And that's my final lesson number 20 in 2020. That laughter and connection truly are medicine. Whether it was Jan Jones sharing his self-taught tap dance skills on Instagram, the rock playfully tossing his daughter in the pool and her ending up in outer space on tick tock. And then, of course, there's my wife who's always making me laugh. And he's posted loads of her own hilarious videos over the year on a YouTube channel and Instagram. She's never afraid to be goofy, to make others smile.


And I saw appreciate that. And I so appreciate everyone out there who's brought a smile to someone else's face this year. Thank you.


Let's keep it up next year, OK? We made it. Those are twenty lessons I learned in 2020. I can't wait to read and see some of your lessons that you learned.


And again, I want to deeply thank you for being a listener of on purpose, for leaving a review and for being a part of this community. I can't wait for you to be listening to on purpose in 2021 and connecting with you then it's a real honor and privilege. I can't wait to see you next year. Thank you so, so much. I've got so many exciting things in store.


This podcast was produced by Dust Light Productions, our executive producer from Dust Light is Michelle Yousef. Our senior producer is Juliana Bradley. Our associate producer is Jacqueline Castillo. Valentino Rivera is our engineer. Our music is from Blue Dot Sessions and special thanks to Rachel Garcia, the dust like development and operations coordinator.