Any business or personal activityundertaken in the proper season, and combined with the passage of enough time, will produce a predictable result. The reason for the seasons is productivity, and the purpose of our activity is results, Jim Rohn opines introducing his fourth major life puzzle: RESULTS.
“Results are the harvest that comes from our past efforts. If the farmer has planted only a handful of seeds in the spring, he cannot expect to reap a very bountiful harvest in the fall. Likewise, if a person has engaged in only minimal activity in the past, he should not expect significant results in the present.”
Results are always in direct proportion to effort. Those who rest in the spring do not reap in the fall, regardless of need and regardless of desire. Results are the reward reserved for those who had the foresight to seize an earlier opportunity. If the opportunity was missed, the reward will be withheld.
The opportunity of springtime is brief. Opportunity approaches, arrives and then quickly passes. It does not linger; nor does it pause to look back. 0pportunity merely presents itself, and those who respond to its arrival with intelligent activitywill realise a full measure of the desired result.
All that we do will determine our future results. Like the farmer who tills the soil in preparation for planting the seed, we must work to develop a sound philosophy. Like the farmer who cultivates and fertilizes his crop to destroy the weeds and nourish the growing seeds, we must strive to develop a new attitude. And like the farmer who tends his crop from morning until nightfall in anticipation of the future harvest, we must engage in labor — in daily activity.
If our past labors have produced a poor harvest, there is nothing we can do about it. We cannot alter the past. We cannot ask nature to make an exception to the rules no matter how hungry we are. Nor will nature permit us to ask the soil for an advance. The only thing we can do is to prepare for the inevitable arrival of another spring — another opportunity — and then plant, nourish and tend our new crop as diligently as possible, remembering the painful consequences of our past neglect. In rememberingthe consequences, however, we must not allow ourselves to be overcomeby them. Their lessons must serveus, not overwhelmus.
Throughout our lives we will experience a number of spring times and a number of harvests. Our future happiness is seldom the product of any one harvest. Rather, it is the result of scores of individual opportunities which are either well-used or sadly neglected. For our happiness lies in the accumulative effect of our past activity. This is why it is so important to study results. Checking our results on a regular basis provides us with an excellent indicator of how well we are using our opportunities. Our current results are an early indicator of what the future will likely hold in store as we continue along our present course. If our current results are satisfying, then the future will likely produce the same bountiful harvest. If our current results are not as we would like them to be, then we need to take a closer look at those factors that may have jolted or even pushed us in the wrong direction.
The results of our past efforts can be measured in several different ways. The first way to measure our results is by looking at what we have. Our homes, cars, bank accounts, investments, and all of our other tangible assets are a good measuring rod of our material progress.
Our assetsreflect one aspect of our current value. To measure our value, we merely examine our assets. Now this is not to suggest that the only way to measure value is by a list of our material possessions. There are all kinds of wealth, and the greatest fortunes in life — joy, health, love, family, experiences, friendships — will always outweigh the value of any material possessions we might acquire. But what we have accumulated over the years in the form of material assets can be a good indicator of past efforts and possible futureresults.
If we currently have a significant accumulation of money and material possessions, we are probably well on our way toward achieving that dream known as financialindependence. By the same token, if our list of assets is rather meager despite our efforts over the last ten, twenty or thirty years of labor, then this may be a good indicator that somethingneeds to change. We may need to make some major changes in our current level of activityin order to increase our results. We may need to increase our skills or our knowledge or our awareness in order to take better advantage of life’s opportunities. Or we may need to make a few adjustments to our philosophyabout money and to our attitudeabout spending.
If we are not satisfied with what we have achieved at this point in our lives, then nowis the time to fix the future. Unless we change how we areright now, what we havewill always be about the same. The same seed sown by the same sower will inevitably produce the same harvest.
For the harvestto change, it may be necessary to change the seed, the soil, or more likely than not, the sower. Perhaps the sower insists on using a plan that simply cannot work. This would be the ideal time for the misguided sower to measure – to assess the reasons why the soil did not cooperate with an ill-conceived plan. But instead of measuring and assessing, the sower complains and compiles yet another list of reasons for his or her unfortunate dilemma.
Everything we have acquired is a result of past efforts and past thoughts. We gather intelligence or we gather ignorance, and our future will produce rewards commensurate with what we have done with the past. We must use our time to plan, to labor, to measure, to invest, to share, to refine past activity, and to add to our storehouse of knowledge. These are the seeds we must gather along the way so that the quality of our results will improve with each passing year.
Another important way to measure our results is to take a closer look at what we have become. What sort of people have we attracted into our lives? Are we well-respected by our co-workers and neighbors? Do we honor our beliefs? Do we try to see someone else’s point of view? Are we listening to our children? Do we express sincere appreciation to our parents, our spouses and our friends? Are we honest and ethical in our business transactions? Are we known for our unwavering integrity among our peers? Do we still march to the beat of a different drummer? Are we happy with who and what we have become?
What we have become is a result of all of our past experiences and how we have handled them. What we have become is also a result of the personal changes we have either voluntarily or involuntarily made over the years. If we are not happy with what we have become, then we must change what we are. For things to change we must change; that is one of life’s fundamentals.
Finally, Rohn offers a word of caution here for those who neglect the need for care and attention to life’s disciplines: everything has its price (you reap what you sow). Everything affects everything else. Neglect discipline, and there will be a price to pay. All things of value can be taken for granted with the passing of time. That is what is called the Law of Familiarity. “Without the discipline of paying constant, daily attention, we take things for granted. Be serious. Life’s not a practice session,” he admonishes.
BY CAPT. SAM ADDAIH (RTD)