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Do you remember that old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, if you are like me, and if you don’t mind admitting just how many times that you made the big mistake of rushing to judgment too soon, we can probably agree that we may have made some poor decisions along the way because we judged someone or something prematurely.

We form opinions based on the way someone looks, the car they drive, the career they have chosen, the house of worship they attend, the friends they keep, and the posts they place on social media. We judge others who drive too fast or too slowly, use their blinker to make a turn that is so far away, or they don’t use a blinker at all. Seems like lately, and all too often, we have become the judge and the jury.

My Uncle Harry used to say something to me each time we talked. He would say, “Now Michael, just remember that there is never anything so good that it can’t get better. And there isn’t anything so bad that it can’t get worse.” I must have been a little hard of hearing because as an eternal optimist I only paid attention to the first sentence, “There is never anything so good that it can’t get better.” And I have found that to be one of the character traits of many successful people who have endured hardships, survived bad economies, and found opportunity in the middle of crises.

“Did you ever notice that some people go around looking for the bad like there is some kind of reward for it?” – Zig Ziglar

If we look for the bad, we will find it for sure. If we look for the good, we will find that as well. And as Andrew Carnegie said, “Sometimes you have to move a ton of dirt to find an ounce of gold.”

You see, we are only two weeks into the new year, and many of us have already judged or decided what the book on 2021 will be about. If we are determined that it will be good or better than good, that is awesome. If some of us have already given up and can’t see anything but trouble ahead, my encouragement would be not to rush to judgment so quickly.

What if we look at the upcoming year as a 365-page book with a prologue, 12 chapters, and an epilogue. The prologue might be the year that we just left behind, but it could also be the fantastic years that preceded 2020. And if we jumped ahead and were able to read what happens next in 2022, we might be able to feel like we are on solid footing or at least see the light at the end of the tunnel.

As much as the prologue or forward of a book sets the stage and the epilogue lets us know what happens afterward, it’s really the story that compels us to want to read and keep reading. Perhaps we received books as a gift this season, maybe we already had a stack of books waiting to be read. And I’ll bet that we just can’t wait to get into the stories, characters, adventures, romances, dramas, or comedies of each one.

So, let’s not rush to judgment about what may or may not happen this year. Let’s not judge this book by its cover just yet, instead maybe we can get into the story, get into our story, because as it turns out, we will be the main character.

How about you? Have you read the inside flap and back cover and determined that you already know how the story will unfold? Or are you willing to be an active participant, determined to enjoy each page and chapter as we go through these next 12 months? I really would love to hear your story at mnorton@tramazing.com, and when we settle in with our book and our own story of life, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.