What’s Your Symbol of the Year for 2021?

Have a symbol to guide your decisions throughout the year

Danny Forest


For the past few years, I’ve been using a one-word theme to guide my actions throughout the year. It’s a concept I borrowed from Niklas Göke, who borrowed it from someone else, who also likely borrowed it from someone else.

But since my one-word theme for 2020 was remarkable, I didn’t have a choice but to find a more unique concept — the symbol of the year. What I like about a symbol is that it’s visual. They say an image is worth a thousand words, and as such, a symbol can be much more powerful than a word.

We attach meaning to symbols and have used them to guide our actions. Think of your home country’s flag as an example. When you picture it, you think about your country’s values.

The same is true of a company’s logo, another symbol. It is arguably the greatest piece of branding a company can have. That’s why big companies don’t cheapen out on logos that, on the surface, may look overly simple. Whatever companies do, they try to never sabotage the image they’ve built. And that image starts with their symbol — their logo.

What’s your symbol for 2021?

Here’s mine, in all its glory:

Drawing of Berkana(o/an) by the author

This Viking rune literally means “Birch Tree”. Over the years, it has had different meanings, but the central themes have always been around:

  • Growth
  • New beginnings
  • Rebirth
  • Nurturing

I couldn’t think of a better symbol for 2021 for me. Heck, I even got it tattooed!

At the beginning of 2020, I was running two thriving businesses. One, a video game company, was in operations since 2013. We were ending the development of a game I had worked on for seven years. The other, Forest Co, was about self-help. I was working on both startups full-time, in addition to writing daily on Medium.

When the pandemic hit, my businesses weren’t immediately affected. But as I welcomed my son into this world and…



Danny Forest

Polymath. Life Optimizer. Learner. Entrepreneur. Engineer. Writer.