Just as businesses evaluate their progress by publishing quarterly and annual reports to gauge performance and see areas for further improvement, at the dawn of the new calendar year, an individual can profit from mindfully closing the past 12 months, and welcoming the new by thinking ahead and planning. Non-profit Hungarian initiative YearCompass is just the tool for taking a more conscious approach to your life to find the well-sought professional-private life balance.
In 2012, YearCompass started out as a simple booklet with a few questions for a handful of Hungarian youngsters to pass time on New Year’s Eve as an extracurricular activity. The idea has snowballed ever since, quickly growing into an international movement. The gradually improved booklet is now available in 19 different languages, all translated by enthusiastic volunteers, and was downloaded from the YearCompass website 200,000 times as 2015 turned into 2016. (Figures for this year are not yet available.)
Though the name seemingly begs for a compass as a logo, the team at YearCompass decided to go with something more meaningful, as related to the booklet: the Buddhist ensō. “We did not only choose the ensō that symbolizes perfect enlightenment, but weʼve specifically chosen the open one that leaves room for movement, development and perfection of all things,” Ádám Freisinger of YearCompass tells the Budapest Business Journal. “Drawing an ensō is a spiritual practice that requires self discipline, in a same way that reflecting on your year and planning your life does.”
With its questions helping to reminisce about the past year and plan for the new one, the booklet aims to guide one to be alert about and discover happiness, learn the biggest lessons of the past year, and become more mindful about the new year’s challenges and tasks. The YearCompass team says it believes in the importance of self-awareness and self-recognition, which they say can improve the way of life of individuals and therefore the whole planet.
As much as the booklet is a spark of a sudden leisure idea, it has a scientific basis. “Many of the questions have roots in the findings of positive psychology,” Freisinger says. “Positive psychology states that positive emotions are connected with being content with the past, being happy in the present and having hope for the future. The booklet aims to help with these.”
Although the tool itself is not unique, based on feedback the Hungarian initiative seems to excel in two factors. “Our tool is very concise, as we have refined it over the years based on feedback, and we have an international volunteer community that makes the translation the booklet into numerous languages possible,” Freisinger tells the BBJ.
While the team of YearCompass, who describe themselves as a “bunch of folks who can tap you on the shoulder when you fall off your path”, is striving to reach the most people possible — “world domination just as usual” as they mockingly say — they do not consider the movement to be a business and are not planning to monetize any part of it. They envisage YearCompass to be a movement spreading rapidly and helping people become “more self-aware, so in turn they could make a world a better place to live on”.
However, as they need funding to keep running the servers and pay the staff behind the freely downloadable booklet, they are currently testing a Collector’s Edition of the booklet that can be purchased. Compared to the self-printed pdf version, this is a “higher-end product with a few surprises”, yet the core questions remain the same as in the free booklet, and the team claims to be committed to this system in the future as well.
Just like businesses benefit from stopping to take stock on a regular basis to visualize performance and internal processes, your individual self can also take advantage of being more mindful about your processes and goals, and based on the feedback the founders have received so far, YearCompass is doing its job well.