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How to Have An Awesome New Year 

Jim Correll, director Fab Lab ICC at Independence Community College, Independence Kansas 

People who know me know that I don't use the word "awesome" very often.  While so many others have made it a tired cliché, I use it very rarely to describe only exceptional situations.  The other day, a message came up on my phone that said "The New Year is going to be awesome.  Look at these movies that are coming out."  This was followed by a list of the mostly forgettable movie titles scheduled to come out early in the New Year.  Not only was that a perfect example of the over-use of the word "awesome", but the idea that a hand-full of movies could make a New Year awesome made me laugh. 

We Have Control of the New Year 

Every one of us has total control over whether the New Year will be awesome or not.  The quality of the New Year, indeed, the quality of our lives is determined by the choices we make, the relationships we develop and the people we help along the way.  There are examples all throughout history of people in every kind of situation who choose triumph over adversity.  From minor inconveniences to major tragedies, it's our choices of how we respond, not our circumstances that control the outcome of our lives. 

In the Entrepreneurial Mindset class, featuring the Ice House Entrepreneurship program, we learn that one of the traits common to successful entrepreneurs is this realization that we can choose to control our personal destiny through the choices we make.  We talk about taking time to respond to situations rather than acting immediately in a knee-jerk reaction.  Through all kinds of adversity, these entrepreneurs, not only the ones we study in the video interview content, but also the area entrepreneurs we bring in as guests, have chosen to control their outcomes through what we call an internal locus of control. 

Positive Thinking Amid Negative Messaging 

One of the choices we need to make is to think positively, expecting good things and not bad things to happen.  I know several people who have actually told me they expect the worst things in life.  They get what they expect.  Our society teaches us to expect the worst, once you pay attention to the messages.  The pharmaceutical companies bombard us with messages telling us how sick we are and that we need to go to the doctor to prescribe their medicine for us.  The news media quotes so-called "experts" telling us there's a good chance we'll suffer one kind of calamity or another. A high school teacher told us, in driver’s ed class, that statistically one out of two people would die in an auto crash before the age of 50. He then said, “Look at the person next to you and decide which one of you it’s going to be.” Although he meant no harm, it was a terrible message to present to a class of 13 and 14 year-olds; an example of the subliminally negative messages still pervasive in our society. 

Thinking positively doesn't mean we won't ever have a flat tire, but we can choose how we react to the flat tires of life and make decisions to minimize the number of flat tires we'll have. Maybe we also learn that maintenance and care of the things we use every day can minimize the number of flat tires and breakdowns we may have in life. 

It will be an awesome New Year if we believe it will be and we make the choices and decisions to make it so. 

Information about the next Entrepreneurial Mindset class, starting January 15, can be found at 

Jim Correll is the director of Fab Lab ICC at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Independence Community College. He can be reached at (620) 252-5349, by email at or Twitter @jimcorrellks. Archive columns and podcast at 

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