Sunday, 14 December 2014

2014 - A Year in Review

As we approach the end of another year it's time to reflect upon the year that was. What have we done as a species that inspires us all? What advice can I offer you to prepare you for another year? I certainly don't have all the answers, or even a lot of them, but I do prefer to look at what we've accomplished together rather than where we've failed. I believe this makes me a little different from most. Unfortunately far too many of us prefer to dwell on everything that's gone wrong, and everything that might go wrong. Why not make 2015 the year when you choose to look for the positives in every situation?  Even in our darkest moments we can find inspiration if we're willing to look for it. Here's my look at the year that was and what we can take from it to make 2015 even better.

On a personal level this was a tough year for my family. It seemed like everything was going against us at times. Perhaps the darkest moment was losing my mother-in-law to cancer. She was a real tough lady, and she fought until the very end. It would have been easy just to give up, to resign ourselves to the fact that misery had a permanent seat on our doorstep, but that kind of philosophy simply isn't in my DNA. Sure we had our rough moments, but we chose to remember my mother-in-law as the inspirational lady she was. Those last few months when she was suffering with cancer where simply the last few moments in a very full life. She leaves behind a family that continues to be influenced by her personality in decisions they make every day. How can that not be positive?

Looking out at the world there was plenty of inspiration to be found. One of my favourite stories of 2014 involved the trials and tribulations of the technology company Blackberry. As 2014 began there wasn't anything positive happening for Blackberry. The company was bleeding money and going through a wave of downsizing. A lot of it's employees lost their jobs and none of the "experts" had anything positive to say about the company. Many were convinced that Blackberry was finished, but then there was a change at the top. John Chen took over, and Blackberry began to refocus. 

They turned their attention to their strengths - business enterprise users. Sure Apple and Samsung had the consumer market under lock and key, but Blackberry was still recognized for their strong security features which continued to attract customers, particularly for government and corporate use. They announced partnerships with Ford, Samsung, and many others that took advantage of their strengths. They also introduced the Passport. A phone designed to appeal to the business customer. They might not be in the black yet but they're getting close because they chose to focus on their strengths, and because they chose to ignore all those critics that said they were finished.

This was also the year we landed a probe on a comet. After ten years of chasing the comet we finally caught up to it. These little pieces of ice and rock have been around since the birth of our solar system. There's so much we can learn from them. Needless to say, the scientists involved with this project were ecstatic even if communication with the probe didn't last long. It landed on the dark side of the comet preventing the sun from recharging its batteries. They chose to focus on the positives. In the short time that the probe was able to send information back to earth they were able to gather a lot of information that they had never had access to before. We can't always expect the perfect outcome, but that doesn't mean we didn't get it right. 

Keeping our view on the skies beyond our earth, the first test flight of the Orion program was successfully launched on December 5th. This NASA program is being developed as a replacement for the space shuttle program. The space shuttle served a purpose, but it had limited range and was never meant to take us beyond the earths orbit. The Orion program is designed to take us back to the moon, and eventually on to Mars. For mankind to survive in the long run we have to move beyond this earth. What can be more inspiring than humanities continuing push to expand our frontiers?

2015 promises to be an exciting year. There's bound to be many more stories like those mentioned above that will continue to inspire us going forward. Sure we'll go through some difficult times as well, both on a personal level and as a species. The challenge is to use these difficult times to inspire us. Even the worst times will end eventually. Why not make 2015 the year that you choose to focus on all that's positive in life? What did you find positive in 2014? Do you have any advice for the rest of us that you've learned over the past year? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

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