YPO member since 2002
I don’t remember how I learned this practice 40 years ago or why I started doing it. Somehow I did it the first time when I was in the ninth grade and I’ve been doing the same ever since. I know one thing for sure, it added magic to my life!
The practice is quite simple, yet amazingly powerful. On the day before my birthday, which happens to be the beginning of the year, I sit with a notepad (later becoming a computer, then an iPad) in a quiet place preferably with a view of nature. I imagine that today is the end of the year to come and I ask myself one question: What are the wonderful things that happened to me that made this past year so great?
Then, I write a list of all those wonderful things that I imagine would happen this coming year as if they actually did. I never held back any thoughts no matter how ridiculous they were. When I started long ago, my list included unrealistic entries for a young teen living in Damascus, Syria, like: I bought a plane, a yacht, a yellow Ferrari, traveled to America, toured Europe. But it also had items like: I passed all my exams with top grades, read 10 new books, made up with these two friends I wasn’t talking to, visited my grandmother at least twice a month, played soccer once a week, prayed daily, focused on a deeper learning of one subject like history or philosophy.
Once I’m done writing my list, I go back and look at the list from the previous year. The first few times I did this, I was amazed how many items on my list actually happened! Not everything, but some. Enough to make me feel a sense of accomplishment.
Then, I look at the other items and I cross the ones that made it to my new list for the coming year.
Most importantly, I reflect on the ones that were not accomplished but didn’t make it to my new list. I ask myself if I still desire that item. In many cases, I find that I no longer desire that item so I just simply skip it. In some cases, I realize I still wish something from last year that I forgot in my new list so I copy it to the new list.
Now as I write this post, I reflect on 40 lists and the life I’ve had and I can describe it in one word: magic! The places I’ve been to, the friends I have, the love I gave and received, the learning, the success, the family, the happiness I felt even as I went through the perils of life.
I can’t say for sure what role this annual list played in my accomplished life. But I remember one very thoughtful old friend once telling me: “Ammar, there’s no answer to a question you never asked!”
Maybe my annual list is full of questions waiting to be answered or prayers waiting to be fulfilled or maybe it’s just magic and I should just leave it at that!