Every year we think that political, social, and economic events just can’t get any worse. Every year we are wrong. We are reminded by Dave Barry in his annual Year in Review that we have just forgotten some of the really ridiculous occurrences of years past.
As a reminder, if you thought 2016 was lame, think about 2003—when Paris Hilton, with no discernable talent—paved the way for others with no discernable talent to become international superstars, such as the Kardashian Klan. Who somehow invaded the earth unnoticed and as part of their clever but evil plan, managed to brand every product manufactured around the globe with the letter “K.”
Then there was 2006, when Dick Cheney shot a 78-year-old man in the face on a hunting trip, although this episode was quickly forgotten and forgiven once the unfortunate victim turned out to be an attorney.
2012 brought new lows with reality shows like “Pawn Wars”, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”, and the hit music video for “Gangnam Style.”
In 2013, Anthony Weiner ran for mayor of New York. Kale became Kool, appearing on every menu, and it became clever to put “hashtag” in front of everything snarky. #KaleisKrap.
2014 had the great ice water challenges, which we watched over and over again. LeBron James proved that he can do no wrong and moved back to Cleveland. By choice.
But, 2016 was one of the craziest years ever, offering a not-to-be-believed presidential campaign with roughly 7,000 candidates—all vastly unqualified—and many of whom are now vying for Third World ambassador positions as repayment for their lack of qualifications.
The Rio Olympics were great for U.S. athletes, but disappointing for China when Dong Dong failed to win the men’s trampoline event and was beaten for the gold medal by Uladzislau Hancharou from Belarus (which actually fielded 23 athletes, including Ivan Tikhon, who won silver in men’s hammer throwing). The Brazilians still have not solved the mystery of the Green Diving Pool of Death.
We lost John Glenn, Arnold Palmer, Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra Jr., Prince, David Bowie, Glenn (“Life in the Fast Lane”) Frey, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Justice Antonin Scalia. We also lost Boutros Boutros-Ghali (“I’m the man so nice they named me twice”), and The Greatest, Muhammed Ali, who famously boasted, “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl, allowing Peyton Manning and his retirement to be combined into a mass marketing opportunity: “Many have heard I have a significant announcement to make, so I thought I’d make it here. Papa Johns is offering 50 percent off.” A retirement with promotional content. Now that’s branding.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 explodes—along with a few Samsung washers and ovens—so Samsung opted to offer comfort with this headline: “Samsung: Don’t freak out about exploding Galaxy S7s,” receiving name recognition you just can’t buy at any cost, as every flight attendant from Kamerican Airlines to Air Kambodia warns passengers that their Samsung Galaxy phone was not allowed on board.
And those debates—regardless of the question and regardless of party, every candidate answered each moderator’s question with the exact same response: “Yes, that could be true, but what about those emails and Benghazi?”
So, we are all now challenged to make 2017 a somewhat sane and predictable year, which means a fresh start. So, with thanks to Justin Barison, here is his simple tip that will help make this your best year ever, in spite of the insanity around us.
Every day, focus on your Most Important Task (MIT).
Your MIT isn’t your easiest task or the one you’ll enjoy the most. It’s not even the task that’s most pressing. The key to your productivity all comes down to understanding what is most important to you and what activity will provide the greatest leverage to getting there.
When I interview sales people, I spend as much time trying to understand why they are excited about the opportunity and the company they are interviewing with as I do delving into their sales abilities. Passion is contagious and the best sales people demonstrate a genuine passion for the companies and capabilities they represent.
The best sales people understand the concept of their MIT and are focused on using this to serve their prospect or customer. They center their entire mindset on how to appropriately connect their solution to helping their prospect or customer achieve the desired outcome. They celebrate when their customers win and they love to celebrate with their team after winning the big deal. That’s why they get up every day and do what they do.
So, once you’re an hour or so into your workday, you should definitely be working on your MIT. Not only does this type of focus give you a great sense of satisfaction at the end of every day, it ensures that you’re gradually working to accomplish something great.
Susan Arledge is the managing director at E. Smith Realty Partners.