Count not today’s harvest; rather count the amount of seed sowed and sprouts nurtured.
Today, you are making a certain amount of money, your ‘harvest’ in modern day terms — and it seems that few are satisfied with what they are bringing home. Many spend much of their brain cpu time counting their incoming bucks, worrying about their incoming bucks, and wishing for more incoming bucks. They are missing a fundamental truth in life: counting today’s harvest does not help you increase your harvest during the next season.
The dollars or euros or pounds or yen which you harvest today are a direct result from seeds planted and sprouts watered over the last 3 – 5 years. Sure, for some, seeds planted during their education continue to pay today but even a medical doctor still has to build a thriving practice. Decisions made and actions taken more recently — usually in that 3 – 5 year timeframe — tend to produce the greatest variance in your current income.
This varies a bit by profession. A salesperson selling an item with a short-term decision horizon tends to harvest seeds planted 6 – 12 months ago. It still takes a certain amount of time to find prospects, qualify prospects, build up trust, pass the tests, and negotiate the deal. Products with longer-term horizons and bigger price tags take much more time. But, all in all, for most things, what we work on today tends to take around 3 – 5 years to pay off, if all goes well.
So why spend even an extra minute counting your harvest or worrying about its size? You are getting exactly what you deserve today, based on the seeds planted 3 – 5 years ago. If you want to enjoy a bigger harvest in 2014 – 2016, it is time to evaluate what you are doing this month to plant good seed in excellent soil. All your energy and all your attention must be on the seeding.
Where should I start?
Ask the question: What is the one thing I can do today that will probably have the biggest impact on my life and my financial rewards 3 years from now? You will find out that this is usually a big thing, something that immediately causes procrastination. It could very well be “improve my skills so I can get a better job or the next promotion”. It might be start a venture on the side, at night. It might be improve my sales skills by taking classes and reading, so that I improve my close rate 30%. It might be paying keen attention to your investments. When is the last time you read a book to improve yourself? When is the last time you took a class? Most of us get too busy and the years fly by. Watching TV or surfing the internet rarely improves your skills and value in the economy.
If you are a committed optimist, opportunity is teeming everywhere you look. There are plenty of difficulties in the world and problems always need solutions. Solutions tend to have value so solving problems tends to produce a financial harvest.
Whatever it is, that item or dozen items that can make a difference, don’t procrastinate. Make plans. Chop big scary-looking tasks into smaller pieces. Put tasks on a calendar, with deadlines. Start today and make progress. Take action. Action and optimism is everything — ideas are worthless without them. Lastly, develop a queue of next seeds to plant, as soon as the current ones have sprouted.
Planting seed is not nearly as easy as counting and complaining about the harvest, but changing your focus to the seed side of the harvest equation will dramatically change your results in just a few years.