(New York, 29 December 2023) – It's the most wonderful time of the year and the season of reflections. Turning a year is an opportunity to pause, look back at the past 12 months and reflect, in anticipation of the year ahead. My recent opera visit did exactly that.
The story of the "Phantom of the Opera" unfolds in the Paris Opera House in the late 19th century. Christine, a young and talented soprano, suddenly becomes a star when the lead soprano, Carlotta, is unable to perform. Unbeknow to Christine, her sudden success is due to the mysterious Phantom, who lives in the labyrinthine passages beneath the opera house. The Phantom becomes obsessed with Christine and begins to manipulate events in the opera house to ensure her success. Meanwhile, Raoul, Christine's childhood friend, reenters her life and they form a romantic connection, which intensifies the Phantom's jealousy. As the Phantom's obsession with Christine grows, he reveals himself to her, unveiling his disfigured face. Horrified, Christine is torn between her sympathy for the Phantom's tragic past and her love for Raoul. The Phantom, in his desperation, kidnaps Christine and takes her to his lair beneath the opera house. Raoul, determined to rescue Christine, follows them into the Phantom's lair. Tragic events follow. Ultimately, Christine's compassion and love have a profound impact on the Phantom, melting his heart. Behind the mask and the disfigured face hides a gentle and kind soul.
The power of love and compassion, and how it can change it all are the dominant themes of the play. Yet, another thought caught my mind - the truth behind the masks. The masks that we wear daily - for ourselves, for others, as if we are trying to escape facing and accepting ourselves the way we are. Perhaps escaping the reality?
However 2023 turned out to be and whatever it is that you are hoping and planning to achieve in 2024, honesty is priceless ( and timeless). In an era dominated by social media, blown out valuations and postcard images, loosing the sense of reality is easier than ever. We are thorough ( hopefully) with estimates and data for our models, but what about our own data? Remember the "garbage in, garbage out"?
If we are dishonest with ourselves about the current state, we can't develop a viable plan that will help us to progress towards our goals. See the golf example below. If you are missing your shot from point A, what are your chances of succeeding from B, C, D? Even slimmer. Now imagine your current level is B, but you believe it is C. The next step would be to master D, so that is what you go for. What are your odds of succeeding? Slim. Not only at becoming effective at D, it doesn't help with getting to your actual next level, C. All the time and efforts you put into mastering D do not yield the expected results. Now, if you are honest about your level ( seek help from others if you struggle to understand the reality), you know your next level is C, which is what you focus on. You build on your existing foundation, get to C, and, eventually, to D, which is when you go to Masters and live happily ever after. Kidding.
The point is that progress starts with acknowledging your current state, the reality. Your single golf handicap can wait, your health cannot. If you are dishonest with yourself about your health - be it physical, mental or emotional-, the implications are profoundly more severe than missing Masters.
I wish everyone in 2024 to be roothlesly and compassionately honest. Reality may not always be comfortable but acknowledging it is the way forward. Let's leave the masks for masquerades and master the reality we live in. Happy and healthy 2024!
Kind and sporty regards,
Motko is an impact-driven health and wellbeing technology company on a mission to make the world a healthier and more inclusive place. Licensed Works with WELL partner, Motko works with corporations and real estate stakeholders, delivering engaging health and wellbeing resources to people globally. To learn more about Motko, please contact email@example.com and visit www.motko.co.