Wise advice throughout the ages implores us to avoid living in the past. Don't dwell on yesterday's problems and mistakes. Focus on the present with hope for the future. Value this moment as if we won't get another chance to leave this world better than we found it.
The Bible is full of such advice: "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
John F. Kennedy said: "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
Buddha advised: "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."
Inspirational writer Dennis Waitley tells us to "learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now."
For most Americans, 2013 is a time to learn from and move on. It's the year we learned that government had deeply deceived us about health care reforms. It was a year in which economic stagnation lingered and government economic policies exacerbated disparity and anxiety among the classes.
We endured partisan bickering over the federal government's increasingly irresponsible fiscal policies. We lived with shutdowns of monuments and whatever inconveniences public servants could inflict for the sake of imposing pain on the people they work for. Stories of layoffs, unemployment and general economic malaise continued as the norm.
Locally, we lived with a microcosmic version of Washington's petty gridlock.
Starting today, we can change all of this. We, as individuals and a society, can set aside anxiety, fear and selfish grudges. We can choose to advance economically and culturally, which only happens when we put the needs of others ahead of our own. Fortunes aren't made with turf battles, partisan loyalty or ideological holy wars. Wealth results from a person or people creating that which is useful and good - a car, a smartphone or a medical procedure. Wealth is the manifestation of a culture that constantly improves, with incremental efforts to invent and provide that which others need in return for flexible currency backed by other constructive endeavors.
Private prosperity is the only means of providing for the sick and poor. It is the only source of jobs. It is the only means of funding governments. Honest pursuits of prosperity, by means of improving lives, represent our only hope of moving past the doldrums of 2013.
Locally, we have great reason for hope. The Pikes Peak region is home to some of the military's most advanced technologies, which will make this community and its high-end workforce increasingly attractive for private-sector innovation during an economic recovery. We have a wider, less-congested freeway leading in and out of the north part of the city. Other transportation improvements, funded with money the private sector provided to government, are on the way to facilitate progress.
Nationally, we have reason to hope recovery is near. A recent Wall Street Journal survey of economists found optimism regarding 2014. The survey revealed average predictions the economy will add 198,000 jobs each month. If true, we will enjoy the highest monthly employment gains since 2005.
Most should have learned in 2013 that government cannot provide for a majority of the country. We must create and produce. We must provide for ourselves and others with honesty and love. In doing so, we can make this country stronger than ever, for rich and poor alike. Happy New Year! Let's get busy creating a 2014 to celebrate 12 months from now.