The Law of the Farm
When I earned my university degree
many years ago, I thought I "finished" my education. In fact,
it had just begun. A diploma compares to a driver's license; how good
you drive remains to be seen on the road. The degree is mere proof that
I produced acceptable results tackling "the curriculum" -
exams, papers, projects, etc. - simply a set of obstacles conjured by my
When I began working, I learned
the "real" skills. Like, making a decision when information is
incomplete or unavailable, or presenting an unpopular decision in a
tense negotiation meeting, or smothering three crises at the same time,
or accepting full responsibility for a costly mistake. It's nothing
close to school.
Life's curriculum is much tougher.
The lessons are hidden, projects have no instructions, exams come
unexpectedly, and results surface in the form of consequences with
lasting effects. But now I can tackle any obstacle in front of me,
conjured or not.
My point: life abides by the Law
of the Farm*. You prepare the soil, you plant the seeds, you water,
nurture, and protect it patiently and finally you harvest. THERE ARE NO
SHORT-CUTS. The Law of the Farm applies to nearly every endeavor, from
starting a business to house-training your dog. It certainly applies to
all the important aspects of your life. Should
you sacrifice immediate gratification for a bountiful harvest? You
Take your health, for
example. If you've neglected it over the years, is there a way to BECOME
INSTANTLY HEALTHY next week? You need time; you need discipline to
embrace new habits. But,
if you start now, your eventual "harvest" will be an energetic
and prolonged life. Will you give up munching potato chips or puffing
cigarettes for this?
What else would be worth it? How
about your financial stability? Or your family, your love life, your
friendships? How about the practice of your faith?
Decide it's worth it. Decide to
take action. This, you can do
* As discussed in Dr.
Stephen Covey's program, Principle-centered Leadership. More at http://getinthehabit.com/