That’s what I want to do in 2024. “Rise” is my one-word theme for the year.

Every morning, I want to rise out of bed, ready to meet each day as it comes. As it is. Not wishing for anything to be different, but instead rising to meet both life’s requirements and its opportunities as they are, when they are — one present moment at a time.

I want to rise to the occasion for my girlfriend, family, and readers. They deserve every ounce of care, time, and creativity I can muster.

I want to rise in my art. For the past few years, I haven’t pushed the boundary enough. I put my head down, focused, and made what was sensible. It has neither led to my retirement nor to more happiness, so I might as well unleash the inner nerd and watch what happens — if only in what little time I can spare.

I want to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of my hard work, which is what Google mostly left me with after nine months of toiling away. Focus works until it doesn’t, and serving any one master is like voluntarily entering a cage: You can’t soar with your wings clipped! Diversify, diversify, diversify — until it’s time to focus again.

In short, I want to rise above my former self. 2023-Nik wasn’t a bad guy, but I’m sure 2024-Nik can do even better.

Most of all, however, and forgive me that I will use the word rather extensively, I want to rise above the bullshit.

In a great video I keep coming back to, philosopher Harry Frankfurt defines bullshit as “saying whatever one has to say to get away with it.” “Bullshit is not a matter of trying to conceal the truth. It’s a matter of trying to manipulate the listener. And if the truth will do, then that’s fine. And if the truth won’t do, then that’s also fine. The bullshitter is indifferent to the truth in a way in which the liar is not.”

In other words, bullshit is everything for which there is kind of an explanation, kind of a justification, but that justification and explanation just aren’t very good — and if they’re not outright lies, they are flimsy interpretations of reality at best. Under that definition, my god, is there a ton of bullshit these days.

The internet is full of bullshit. Companies are full of bullshit. And sadly, many people have learned to play along — including me. I, too, am full of bullshit, and I’m ready to leave it behind like an eagle flying so high it has no clue where its tiny speck of poop even lands — if it makes it down to our beautiful blue planet at all, that is.

When you open a members-only article on Medium and see an ad for the author’s newsletter that’s as long as the intro, right after the intro, that’s bullshit. That’s not what you’re paying $5 a month for, and everyone knows it — including the author. Mute, goodbye, move on.

When the company you host your online course with reneges on that “Lifetime Pro Account” you won in a giveaway a few years back and tells you to start forking over $1,200 per year, that’s bullshit. You call them out, hold them accountable, and if they don’t keep their promise, you cancel your membership and take your course elsewhere.

When you stumble on a clickbait headline talking about some D-List celebrity’s drama with the staff in their five-star hotel, you know that’s bullshit. Don’t fall for it! It’s called bait for a reason. If you click, they win.

When someone tells you to promote your work a certain way or pick the monetization strategy they are using, that’s bullshit. They’re only handing out the advice that worked for them, and everyone must find their own path.

When an affiliate partner cuts your payout in half after you’ve made the sales under the previously agreed terms, that’s bullshit. You can swallow the affront, but you should probably find a way to replace that income.

Of course, the worst type of bullshit is the kind you produce yourself. Ultimately, it’s when you try to milk the reader, when you use corporate lingo to screw over a customer, when you clickbait, give otherwise motivated advice, and go back on your word that, in the long run, it hurts the most — not just financially, personally, or professionally, but emotionally, too. Bullshitting breaks the soul, and it never takes long before the first cracks show.

I don’t blame you. We can’t help it. After all, if bullshit is all around us, sooner or later, we’re bound to make some. We all produce bullshit from time to time. The tragedy is when we’ve lost all zest to fight it. When we cozy up to bullshitters and blend right into the world of half-truths and half-assery. That’s the part I can no longer stand, the bullshit I hope to rise above.

Building a business around fickle algorithms and fair weather collaborators is bullshit — but it’s my bullshit, and so I’ll have to be the one shoveling the dirt out of my driveway. Will I succeed? I have no idea. But I invite you to try and rise with me.

Wings can be heavy. When they’re hurt, constrained, or soaked in water, we might not be able to take off. But wings are still wings, and we were not born to hop around in a tiny sandbox. We are meant to fly.

In 2024, whatever your one-word theme might be, I hope you’ll mend your wings and rise — not just above the bullshit, but about whatever else is holding you back from accomplishing your dreams in this one miraculous life.