Word Count: 995
Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett
My Farming Experience
As part of the final year of high school in Kenya, we were required to maintain a garden. This was to be part of our final grade in our Agriculture class. Having grown up in the city, I never had any first-hand farming experience. But a grade was at stake and there was no way around it. I had to do it. Needless to say, it was one of the most painful experiences of high school. But I did it. Even with blistered hands. My potatoes were not the best and at some point, my garden was overgrown with weeds but I can recall three valuable lessons once I harvested my potatoes:
- No matter your skill level, don’t expect a harvest where you never planted a seed.
- The seed you sow determines the fruit you grow.
- The best time to plant is now.
I wholeheartedly believe that the seeds we sow today can change the climate of our lives for the better going forward. Here are two types of seeds we should endeavor to plant:
1. Seeds of high-quality thoughts
Our thoughts play a significant role in our actions. In fact, there is a proverb that says, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run (for better or worse) your life.” (emphasis added). This unchanging concept of life should make us wary of the thoughts we entertain and allow to marinate in our minds.
Thoughts don’t just enter our minds, we invite them there. How? First, by what we give attention to. What we pay attention to most, grows in the field of thought. By understanding our attention patterns we can improve our patterns of thought. Second, we should also be cognizant of the words we speak. Our words give water to our thoughts creating more growth. Third, by who we allow into our lives. Those we spend the most time with have a positive or negative influence on our lives through our thoughts.
It’s time to think about what we are thinking about. Use the following questions as a guide:
- Where are you allocating your attention?
- What is it breeding in your thought life?
- What words do you speak consistently?
- How do they affect your mind?
- Who do I spend the most time with?
- How is their influence affecting my thinking?
Author Max Lucado put it like this, “You can pick what you ponder.” Our thoughts and future go hand in hand. If we continue in thoughts that are toxic and destructive we will birth a similar future. But if we sow healthy, quality thoughts our self-development will begin to show.
2. Seeds of focused Self-Development
In a sermon titled, The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Life as it should be and life at its best is a life that is complete on all sides.” By all sides, he meant the length, breadth, and height which total the volume of life. Self-development at its purest is a life signified by the above description from Dr. King.
The length represents the inward concern for personal welfare. In today’s terms, we call this self-care. For me, this shows in what I read, my self talk, my eating habits and exercising. I know that I am no good to anyone unless I prioritize self-care. It’s also about fulfilling your calling in life. Living a purpose-driven life is perhaps the highest calling of any human. Know your purpose and live it out.
The breadth represents the outward concern or care for others. Selfishness is the lowest form of living anyone can engage in. At the core of every act of evil resides selfishness. This is why relationships are a crucial part of life. Relationships are the gardens where we sow the seeds of love, trust, hope, appreciation, encouragement e.t.c so that they flourish. Whether we like it or not we are not self-dependent or self-sufficient. We need relationships. They help to rid us of the toxicity that comes with being selfish. Every day, see yourself as a farmer with seeds of kindness, encouragement, and service ready to sow into the lives of others. We need more of this in the world we live in. The greatest thing we can engage in is the care and service of others. The welfare of others leads to the wellness of our own lives.
The height is the upward reach for God. Man’s greatest need is not self-discovery but God-consciousness. We cannot deny the existence of God because evidence of His presence is everywhere. We can neglect Him but He is there. In his sermon, Dr. King used the example of the sun to convey that we only need to look around to believe God exists. But He took it a step further to talk about faith. In the midst of threatening calls to his house because of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King planted his faith in God. He said, “I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. And if He’ll guide us and hold our hand, we’ll go on in.” At the core of every human being is faith. And faith is not a possibility without the existence of God.
It was Dr. King’s observation that no life can develop into significance unless all three dimensions were in place. Self-development, which has a high impact on the economy and society as a whole necessitates a 3D life.
Final thought: The planted seed becomes the fruitful tree. Everything produces after its kind. The fruit always tells the truth about the seed. Take heed to what you plant. You have within you the seeds to change the climate of your life and those around you. Plant now. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether I passed my Agriculture class, a garden full of potatoes says I did.
Keep on Keeping on!