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The season to celebrate: A time to reflect

It’s finally here, the season to celebrate. Over the next few weeks there will be much excitement in the air as we begin preparing for countless Christmas festivities. There will be family gatherings, office parties, reconnecting with old friends, food and merriment and, of course, Junkanoo. Storefronts are already brightly decorated beckoning early shoppers wishing to get a get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Homes and businesses will be brightly adorned in the yuletide colors to mark the season and if you are fortunate you may even be treated to an early Christmas carol heralding the imminent approach of the big day. It’s my favorite time of the year, not so much because of the celebrations although that is a welcomed bonus, but because the world around us metamorphoses into a more caring and compassionate place to live. We seem nicer and more considerate, more forgiving and more willing to overlook each other’s flaws at this time of the year. There is a quiet aura of “goodwill” that permeates the air and a taming of the pessimism and nugatory vitriol that is regularly spewed across the airwaves and on social media that consumes us almost on a daily basis. Just for a while the superficial chasms that divide us recede into the background. And why not? After all, ‘tis the season to be jolly!

But lest you believe that this time of the year is only a season for revelry and merry making, you should know that it is also a time to reflect. Reflection is crucial in every aspect of our lives. It is an essential part of our lifelong learning often overlooked and underused in our daily practices. Reflection gives us an opportunity to introspect and to absorb and decipher the onslaught of information with which we are bombarded each day. It is an excellent training tool in helping employees gain clarity and recognize causal factors that have contributed to their personal circumstances. As a corporate trainer I am a practitioner and an advocate of personal reflection as an integral part of a comprehensive training program. Taking the time to reflect provides trainees with an opportunity to rationally and dispassionately analyze their decisions and the consequences of their actions. Succinctly put, “Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous” (Confucius).

So as the end of the year draws nigh and the season of jollity and spirited indulgence commences, take some quiet time to pause and reflect. One of the questions I always ask myself is: What pursuit did I engage in that redounded to my personal development? You may wish to delve even further and ask yourself what nuggets of wisdom did I acquire this year? Did I attain any of my goals? How much time did I invest in my own development this year? Did I learn a new skill, enroll in a course, or make a strategic career move? Have I grown spiritually, emotionally or intellectually this year? Even if the answer to these questions is “no” reflecting on them can inform your decision on the path you should take to become the person you are meant to be and accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. Remember it’s not only the season to celebrate, it’s a time to reflect. “Happy Holidays!”

•Dr. Barbara Rodgers-Newbold is a corporate training consultant and the country head of The University of The West Indies Open Campus. She is also a trained mediator and a college/university Lecturer. Dr. Barbara Rodgers-Newbold can be contacted at brodgersnewbold@gmail.com

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