New Year’s toast

One of the bitter fruits of our busy lives is the declining trend of home visits. There was a time I saw that more as an issue in other countries like the US. Today, I regret to say we, Poles, are starting to follow this western social model.

My second sabbatical I begin with a longer family vacation in a far away and warm place. En route to our destination we bumped into our friends on the plane with whom we had failed to meet in a homey atmosphere in Wroclaw for quite some time. We had to travel thousands of kilometres to find an occasion to meet together. They are based only 1,5 h drive from us in this vacation place. That occasion turned out to be the New Year’s Eve celebration.

During a very nice visit we talked about a few interesting topics, which I value a lot in social meetings. As a side note, Polish hospitality, though still very unique, is too focused on the culinary aspects. There is very little valuable and uplifting conversation, and quite a lot of complaining and whining. The latter piece is pretty common around the world, so I should not be picking on my own country.

Back to our New Year’s Eve, one of the topics was the making of the New Year’s resolutions. I do not know, how many of you make any commitments at the beginning of a New Year. Regardless of the number, there is even fewer of us who actually follow through on their commitments. Strong attachment to our old ways and our weak will are common derailleurs here.

One of the solutions to deal with these challenges is picking a buddy (trusted person), who will help us stick with our commitments by regular follow ups. Nothing can confront us better on our commitments or inconsistencies than another person. And children are really good at it.

Another facet that ricocheted from that conversion was the quality or rather utility of those commitments. What I mean here is whether by following those resolutions we will become more useful to others, or just what to focus on pleasing our own whims and desires. There is a qualitative difference between saying: I want to go somewhere or get this or that versus I will dedicate more time to my wife, kids, or do something good for the world.
Where to look for resolutions inspiration? I want to share with you something that caught my attention today. This is the list of 15 leadership diseases according to Pope Francis, which I have found very relevant and inspiring. Here they are:

1. The disease of thinking we are immortal, immune, or downright indispensable
2. The disease of excessive busyness
3. The disease of mental and [emotional] “petrification.”
4. The disease of excessive planning and of functionalism
5. The disease of poor coordination
6. The “leadership Alzheimer’s disease
8. The disease of rivalry and vainglory
9. The disease of existential schizophrenia
11. The disease of gossiping, grumbling, and back-biting
12. The disease of idolizing superiors
13. The disease of indifference to others
12. The disease of a downcast face
13. The disease of hoarding
14. The disease of closed circles
15. Lastly: the disease of extravagance and self-exhibition

As the Pope says, those diseases threaten every leader and every organization
They can attack at both the individual and social levels. In the article at the link below you can find more content on this topic.

From many interesting observations one was particulary strong and relevant to my “sabbatical journey”: Accumulating goods only burdens and inexorably slows down the journey!
This accurate list of our modern leadership weaknesses could be changed into the list of antidotes, i.e. virtues, which we could develop. These could include the attitude of humility and humbleness, gratitude and joy, restraint in judging others or greater moderation in different areas. The New Year will be a good opportunity for me to practise those. Perhaps you will also find some inspiration in the list above?
I want to close with one of my New Year’s toasts, which is also a wish for all of us:

May we all become more useful to others in the New Year.

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2 odpowiedzi na „New Year’s toast

  1. Steve Garrett pisze:

    Hello, very inspiring! We met in Oregon on your first Sabbatical, at little lake on the Oregon Coast. My girls were catching Salamanders. I have been following along in the shadows. We are planning on a family Sabbatical in 2019. A year away, abroad, bonding and enjoying the adventure and each other. With so many options culturally, where do you start? Do you have a top ten list of places or events that can’t be missed?

    Steve Garrett


    • Hi Steve,
      What a surprise! Thanks for staying in touch. Congratulations on your big decision to go on a family sabbatical. In my seven years of promoting this idea around the world I have only come up with one more family doing this. So many people want to do this, so few dare to. I am pretty sure you will have a wonderful and bonding experience. How old are your kids now? They must be early teenagers if I remember well.
      As for places, it really depends on what you are looking for. In our case we wanted the whole family to experience differing environments in terms of climate, people’s wealth, languages etc. We also travelled off the beaten track. Many people would not be flexible enough to do this while living on a tight budget. So following our first sabbatical itinerary would do the trick here. An alternative I considered a year ago before embarking on my second sabbatical was to take my family to 4 different places for 3 months each. We would simply pick a place in a country/continent of our choice and live there for one trimester. While less of a travelling adventure this could be an interesting way to explore different environment and avoid the travelling hassles. Personally I would choose a place in Australia, a place in Europe (Spain, Italy), somewhere in Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica) and somewhere in Asia or Middle East like Dubai or Bali.
      Since you are not Polish actually I would highly recommend for a place in Europe to be Poland during the spring or summer months (somewhere in the Mazury region).
      I hope those recommendations are helpful. Anyway, good luck with your planning. Let’s stay in touch.


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