Thursday, June 14, 2012

Planting Seeds

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”            
– Robert Louis Stevenson

These are words to live by.  It’s easy to live each day under the microscope, judging every event.  I would argue that we not only all have “off days,” but we have “off moments” every single day. 

Maybe you’re running a few minutes late.  Maybe you forgot your cell phone or your wallet at home.  Maybe, like me, you got so caught up in your thoughts that you lost your spatial awareness and cracked your elbow against a door frame or stubbed your toe on a chair leg.  It’s funny how these moments of mayhem and discombobulation grab all of our attention and consume all of our energy. 

On a larger scale, it can be difficult to trudge forward doing all the right things for your life if you aren’t seeing the results that you were expecting.  Patience is undervalued in this society of instant gratification, and when we’re promised quick results, “slow and steady wins the race” begins to sound trite.

But just because we get our internet high-speed and our food from drive-through windows (that is a topic for another post…), that doesn’t mean that faster is better.  Despite all the marketing hype, common sense and scientific wisdom regularly tell us that small changes implemented consistently over time usually lead to long-term, sustainable success.

So as difficult as it can be, try to be kind to yourself. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  Maybe you ate a second piece of cake because you were bored, not hungry.  Maybe you stayed in to watch television instead of going for a morning run.  Maybe you forgot something, turned something in that was incomplete, or missed an important detail.  Stop.  Take a deep breath.  And keep on going.

Life doesn’t stop because you made a mistake.  You haven’t destroyed your healthy lifestyle with an extra sweet or a missed workout.  As my mother always told me growing up (and still tells me every chance she gets) there is no problem that can’t be solved.

Take a look at the big picture, and when you get off track, don’t make your job harder by beating up on yourself.  Look at every step you are taking and remember that the positive seeds you plant today will grow into a big, beautiful harvest. 

It’s hard to do. Trust me, I know.  I could stand to take my own advice more often.  But it’s worth it.  Focus on planting the seeds, and the harvest will take care of itself.

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