In this hectic, hurried way so many of us live
today, how often do the more important things in life pass by unnoticed? We look back and see huge gaps of nothingness. Have those parts of our life been wasted?
Whether we consider some of our life wasted or not, we have become who we are by the accumulation of all that has happened to the present time. If we want to change our lives, we must begin to move forward in time differently since we can't change the past. We must find a way to become more intentional about creating the life we want and make every moment count.
Living the thoughtful life of a farmer
Instead of using an arbitrary approach to life, what if we were to think like a farmer instead? In other words, we begin purposely preparing the ground to receive seeds to grow the crops we desire to harvest down the road. We use our time to care for the seeds we have planted by ensuring they have enough water, sunshine, and nutrients to thrive.
How do we prepare the ground, plant the seeds, tend them, and harvest them? Most of us, if we have been working a few years, have been preparing the soil. Our education, training, and experience are its preparation. Once the field has been made ready, we can begin to plant seeds.
"Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream." Debby Boone (1956-present)
What seeds have you and are you planting in life? One thing for sure, it will involve relationships.
You can produce work for a company day in and day out, planting a seed or two along the way. You can act in a thoughtful, positive manner, keep an eye on your behaviors, perform better than average, effectively planting more seed. What do you do with these seeds after planted?
The seeds need nourishment to survive and thrive. You provide nourishment by producing exceptional work that becomes known for its value. You nourish it by going the extra mile. You nourish it in the value you bring to the company or client. In the end, the nourishment creates goodwill in others for you and the work you do. You make yourself known as a person who can not only plant the seed but nourish it as well. You become that desirable employee, colleague, boss, leader, owner, or client.
When you have provided all of this nourishment for the seeds you have planted, a bountiful harvest is assured.
How would this play out in real life?
Let's look at an example of this four-part farming process in a real person's life and career - my own. From starting as a young man to the present, as an older, mostly retired man! While we could look at smaller parts of my career where this process would apply over and over again, let's look at its entirety of more than 40 years.
Preparing the soil
As a young person, I did the school thing, military service, and did a lot of soil preparation in that first company that employed me. My ground still needed some plowing to prepare it, however. It took more school, training, and certifications to prepare the soil before planting in earnest.
Planting the seed
Upon gaining some experience in the business, I finally entered the stage where I begin planting seeds in fertile prepared soil. By working hard, maintaining a good attitude, and producing excellent results, I started planting plenty of seeds.
"The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn't still be a farmer." Will Rogers (1878-1935)
Providing nourishment (water, sun, nutrients)
By working diligently, real growth started to occur. It propelled me up the corporate ladder. One promotion after the next, sometimes by changing employers, the seeds kept growing into a magnificent crop.
In actuality, I had many such cycles during my career. However, we are now looking at the entire harvest from more than 40 years of effort for this example.
My harvest was great, providing sufficient retirement to not worry about the government and things like social security. My wife and I are now enjoying our lives. Each of us maintains an entrepreneurial spirit as we continue to prepare, plant, nourish, and harvest in other areas.
"Inside every seed is the potential for an incredible harvest." Farrah Gray (1984-present)
This simple four-step process of preparing the ground, planting seed, providing nourishment, and harvesting is easy to apply to many areas in life.
You can use the process in your marriage, relationships, hobbies, and many stages in your career, among other things. One of the most important things you can apply it to is your spiritual life. When you prepare the ground of your spiritual life to take seed, plant, and nourish it regularly, you will reap a harvest far more valuable than any material thing in life. The same can be said for your marriage and relationships as well.
"Thought is the seed of action." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Going back to the beginning of this article about how life goes by with large portions of apparent waste shows the importance of using this farming analogy going forward.
Instead of plodding through life, working only in your life, begin to think differently. Adapt the mindset to begin working ON your life. Become the farmer of your life. Purposely prepare, plant, nourish and harvest. Look at life each day through these lenses to begin working ON your life and watch it begin to change.
As you learn to embrace working ON your life, you will get out of the trap of being stuck, repeating the same things again and again. A great place to start this work is to heed the following quote:
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Start planting in the soil you have already prepared, provide the nourishment necessary, and get ready to reap that bountiful harvest!