Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reap much more than you sow

Farming and gardening are the two most commonly used metaphors to illustrate both the need for the seasons and for reaping and sowing. You reap what you sow. This universal concept tells us that we get back what we put in.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about corn, wheat, soybeans or rice. The farmer must first plant the field or paddy. It is only after the planting and caring for plants that the farmer can harvest a crop. If he chooses not to plant, he will not harvest. If he does not sow, he does not reap. And he must sow smartly.

If a farmer stands at the edge of the field in the spring and simply throws his seeds into the air for the wind to scatter, will he have a good harvest in the fall? No, he will not. But the farmer who tills the soil, adds nutrients to the soil and plants the seeds properly will have a good harvest. Why? Because he took care of his precious seeds. He was careful and diligent in how he sowed. He made sure he put in the work to reap the greatest reward for his efforts. It took him longer. The lazy farmer who simply threw the seeds was finished in minutes. He had the rest of the spring and summer to rest, relax and have no worries. The hard-working farmer spent the time, got the knowledge, put together a solid plan, gathered the proper supplies and then worked his plan. He worked hard all spring and summer long. But come the fall his wife, his children, and his extended family had food to eat. The lazy farmer had some explaining to do and had to go and beg for help just to keep himself and his family alive.

If you do not sow, you will not reap. You must first put in the work in order to yield any return. Personal development, professional development, and healthy loving relationships are just as tied to this concept as the farmer and his crops. You must have a plan and work your plan in every area of your life in order in order to maximize your return. You most certainly do reap that which you sow.

Now let us add to that concept. The more you sow, the more you will reap. Seems simple enough. If a farmer wants a larger harvest he increases the size of his fields. If he wants to reap more rice, he needs to plant more paddies. If you want a deeper relationship with your loved ones, you need to spend more time with them nurturing those relationships. The more you sow, the more you reap.

I personally feel that it there is even more. There is yet another layer to reaping and sowing. My belief is that you reap much more than you sow. This does not work in the very real world of growing crops but it does apply to the world of development, relationships and success building. What you sow today in terms of helping develop yourself and helping to develop others provides dividends over and over in the future.

Think about the power of compounding interest on your money. You put your hard earned cash into an account which pays 5% compounded annually. The first year you earn 5%. But the next year you earn 5% on both your original principle AND on the interest you earned last year. In the third year you again earn interest on your principle AND now on the interest earned in both years one and two. As the interest dollars compound your account starts to grow at a faster and faster rate. The growth curve is relatively flat at the beginning but as time moves forward the curve starts to get steeper and steeper. As time moves forward you earn (reap) much more than you originally invested (sowed).

When you help others (you sow your time) the benefit continues to increase (more and more is reaped). Steps in personal development are not stand alone actions, and neither are the resulting benefits. Rather, they build upon each other, so much like ripples on the surface of a pond the results continue to expand farther and farther out. The more you do for yourself, and the more you do for others, results in more and more ripples. Your combined efforts push out into the surrounding universe like a tidal wave.

You may not see the results of each and every action you take today, but rest assured each and every one is building a tidal wave of results for your future.

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