The beginning of the New Year should be a time of reflection and resolution. It is a turning point to consider where we have erred during the closing year and what steps to take as we begin a new one. The New Year brings a freshness that says change is possible. Indeed, sometimes the impetus from a resolution creates a good habit that remains for life.
Every New Year brings challenges that depend on the state of the nation and the current phase of our lives. While years tend to be similar, 2022 will be very different. The COVID crisis, civil disorders, economic disruptions and political chaos of the last two years have changed so much that we dare not use the word normal to describe our new world.
There is not even a “new normal,” such is the constantly evolving nature of things (and supply lines turmoil). We must settle on preparing for “not normal” times.
Surviving in 2022 will depend on agility, energy and confidence. Doing nothing is not an option since we risk being overwhelmed by the turn of events.
Preparing for “Not Normal”
The problem with preparing for “not normal” times is that no specific course of action can be recommended. The very nature of chaos makes anything possible. Nobody can prepare elaborate plans for all unknown possibilities. We will go crazy if we try.
No specialized course, exercise or shopping list can help prepare when things can change from one moment to the next. Indeed, how do we prepare—separately or all at the same time—for a possible financial crash, a war with Russia and China, a socialist regime, more health problems or an existential crisis in the Church?
Learning From Those who Improvose and Dore
In “not normal” times, the best preparations are generalized plans. We must be ready for anything. That way we do not to visualize all specific possibilities. Learning to roll with the punches keeps us from overreacting to each thing in an exaggerated way that leaves us crazy and exhausted.
To better understand what this entails, we might recall a story about Churchill during World War II. A particular commander in a difficult fight with the Germans asked for instructions. Churchill sent an order with three words: “Improvise and dare!” The commander followed his advice, and Churchill, in a flourish of grammatical audacity, wrote that he “improvose and dore.”
This is how we should prepare for the “not normal” year of 2022. We must follow the example of those who “improvose and dore,” no matter how unorthodox and ungrammatical it might seem.
Improvising with Incredible Flexibility
How do we do this? How do we improvise and dare?
By improvising, we mean being capable of incredible flexibility. It means taking our capacities to adapt to their limits. We must find ways around problems big and small by getting by with whatever resources are at hand.
Those who improvise fight the right battles at the right times. They are not attached to their opinions and methods and are willing to turn on a dime if needed.
Improvise does not mean winging it, doing things unprepared or without study. We must take all necessary precautions. We learn to work with God’s grace to inspire us. When the time comes to act, we know things can change quickly and are ready to adjust accordingly.
Daring with Courage and Resolution
By daring, we mean taking the offensive and breaking through any barrier with strength of will and courage.
It involves taking our capacities to attack a problem to their extreme limits. Once again, it does not mean rash or unprepared action. It also assumes working with God’s grace to strengthen us. After taking all precautions, we can throw ourselves into the problem with great energy and impetus.
The proper balance lies in being ready both to improvise and dare. Then, we can always move forward, fully engaged in the fight, doing whatever needs to be done.
The Right Attitude
As we enter 2022, we must face a “not normal” world that shows no signs of returning to order. Having the right “improvise and dare” attitude will enable us to survive. It will allow us to exploit any good opportunities to act that come our way. It will mitigate the disasters that strike us.
We will learn to pick the battles worth waging and fight them with resolve, agility and energy. This attitude humbly invites us to strengthen our relationship with God, who will give us the supernatural grace to fight the battles ahead, despite the odds. We can avoid the temptation to despondency and paralysis that so often weigh down the efforts of those who should defend God’s cause.
The year 2022 will be “not normal.” We should not be discouraged. In times like ours, the future belongs to those willing to “improvise and dare.”
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