The Builder’s Year

by sukhvirk150

I wondered what goal to set for myself this year as I sat alone in my room. I felt a bit down this New Year’s Eve. The two people I normally rode with to the local Sikh Gurudwara never responded to my texts. It looked like I’d spend my New Year at home.

Refusing to simply sit around, I found my roommate. Being sick, he decided to stay back from a party. I talked about whittling my days away at home, playing video games and watching TV.

“I’ve got until the 22nd of January before classes start again. It’s a lot of time and I want to do something with it,” I explained.

“Why don’t you start a business?” He suggested.

He surprised me. I smiled. Usually we talk about getting a lot of sleep, reading a lot, or just relaxing. I loved that made such an ambitious proposal. He knew I talked about starting my own business.

“You’re right,” I admitted.

All this last semester I talked about starting the business. I worked on it lightly. Since coming back state side from my India trip, I’ve done nothing toward my first product.

He explained that he’s reading Theodore Roosevelt’s biography. My roommate explained that Roosevelt was a man who worked tirelessly. The former President often pulled 20 hour work days, sleeping only 4 hours a day. We both talked about how Roosevelt worked to excel in many of the things he pursued. He wrote multiple books, served in various political roles, and founded a number of continuing social movements.

I felt more and more inspired. Our discussion reminded me of all the things I wanted to do with my life. It reminded of how much I wanted to contribute through my work. It also reminded me how important it is to work hard, to give life everything we’ve got. To leave nothing on the table.

As we talked, I mentioned how important it became for the both of us that he read that book. Reading more biographies would drive him further forward this year, I pointed out.

“I don’t want to just read about other peoples’ lives. I want to do and make something of my life,” he responded.

Just then, my resolution cleared in my mind. “Why not make something? I like that actually. I think I found my resolution. I make or build something new every month,” I said. “It can be a book, a song, a website, a computer program, or a painting. Can you imagine working on a single art piece for an entire month?”

“Yeah, I like that,” he said.

We talked about it more and more. We decided to hold each other accountable. Each month, we’ll present what we built to each other. Keep each other in check.

I like the resolution. I scares and excites me. It’s flexible. Each month I can build something completely different. It’s focused. A lot easier to commit to than 14 different resolutions. It’s measurable. Each month, I need something tangible to show for my work.

This year is the builder’s year.

What’s your resolution? How will you measure success? How can you stretch and challenge yourself this year?

A Builder’s Manifesto made by Wondermark