There is a lot of information out there about success. Much of it is inane blather that won’t help you and might even leave you worse than were. Of course there is also a ton of good information that will really help you become more successful.
The hard part is telling one from the other.
It is a challenge, to be sure. And my primary goal here is to consistently share things that will add value and can actually help all of us become more successful. So in keeping with that goal let me share the number one universal law of success.
The Law of Planting and Harvesting
You will always harvest what you plant.
It is very simple to say. Go ahead. Say it out loud. It will only take you about 5 seconds. Get your mind around the words. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the fact that you aren’t into gardening. I’ll explain how it applies in a minute.
The truth of that statement is too significant to just gloss over. Give it some time to sink in. You will always harvest what you plant.
The idea is best illustrated by thinking about a farmer. Say a farmer has a field. In the spring the farmer has a choice what he is going to plant in that field. He could plant hay for his livestock. Perhaps the farmer chooses to plant a cash crop like cotton or tobacco. Or maybe he would decide to plant it with some grain like corn or wheat.
If he’s smart the farmer will take into consideration factors like local climate, soil condition, overall needs of his farm, and market condition before he makes his decision. For our discussion here it doesn’t matter how he decides. Because eventually he will decide and plant his field.
Once the field is planted, the farmer is committed. The seed that he puts into the ground will determine the crop that he gets come harvest time. Sure there are variables that affect the quality and quantity of the harvest, amount of rain, insects, etc. But the nature of the crop is determined by the seed that was planted.
If the farmer plants corn in the spring, and then during the corn market completely tanks while the wheat market takes off, there is no way he is going to get wheat from those corn plants. He may want to change it. But he would be beyond foolish to even try. He will have to plant a new crop of wheat and wait for it to grow because he will harvest whatever he planted. Its a simple law.
Someone might tell him that his problem is that he just isn’t a positive thinker. But no amount of positive thinking is going to change that corn into wheat. All he’ll get is frustrated and come to the conclusion that positive thinking is a crock. But for the farmer the problem wouldn’t really be his thinking. His problem in that situation would be that he was trying to defy the law of planting and harvesting.
It won’t work.
I said the Law of Planting and Harvesting is a law of success, and that is true. But it could also be seen as a law of failure.
How can that be?
Well the law is truly universal. Just like the physical law of gravity applies throughout the universe, the Law of Planting an Harvesting is universal. You will always harvest what you plant.
Are you consistently nice to people? You will find that people in general are nice back to you.
Do you yell and scream a lot and project a lot of anger? You will find a whole bunch of anger coming right back at you.
Are you generous with your time and money? You will find people will be generous to you too.
Do you wisely save some of your money or are you in the habit of spending it like a drunken sailor? Either way you will harvest your crop.
The good news here is that if you don’t like what you are harvesting you can start making changes by planting new crops to get what you want. Because the law is universal, once you know it you can apply it to work in your favor.
And it doesn’t even matter whether you believe the Law is true or not. It still applies. Just like it doesn’t matter if someone refuses to believe in the physical law of gravity. They won’t float off into space because they don’t believe. The law of gravity still applies to them too.
The Law of Planting and Harvesting also doesn’t care if people believe it or not. It still keeps working, just like gravity.
Why do you think Jesus gave us what we call the Golden Rule: “Do for others what you would like them to do for you.”? Do you think he was trying to put the whammy on us by giving us something difficult to do?
Or maybe Jesus knew about the Law of Planting and Harvesting and knew that the Golden Rule would be a very simple way for us to get back the things that were best for us. Think about it.
Now there are a few facets of the Law which need explanation. If we don’t completely understand the Law we might be tempted to dismiss it because our expectations are misplaced.
It Takes Time
The first thing to remember is that it takes time. Just like the farmer has to wait through the growing season for the plants to mature, blossom and develop fruit, we have to wait for our seed to grow and mature too. The farmer would look ridiculous if the day after he planted his corn he was out in the field stomping and whining, “Why don’t I have corn? I mean I planted tons of seed! Where is my crop?”
That would be silly.
We must understand that the Law applies to us in the same way. Just changing our seed won’t change our harvest overnight. We’ll have to be patient and tend our crops diligently in order to see the harvest.
The good news is that we can continue to keep planting new seed as we are waiting. That way we systematically increase the size of our harvest!
Another big gatcha involves a part of the Law that actually deviates from our farmer analogy. When the farmer plants his crop he knows exactly which field he can expect his harvest from.
However, where the universal Law of Planting and Harvesting is concerned, it is quite likely that our harvest will come from a different field than the one where we actually planted the seed. Let me explain.
Over the years I have helped several people load up their stuff when they’ve moved to a new house. I’m pretty good at the grunt work that is involved in the moving process. I can pick things up and set them down.
Well, because of the Law of Planting and Harvesting, I have always had help lifting my junk whenever I had to move. The thing is the people who helped me were rarely the same people that I helped move.
The Law applies: I planted help with moving and I harvested help with moving. But my harvest came from a different field than the one I planted in. Different people helped me than I helped.
Now I suppose I could have gotten mad that Dan wasn’t there to help me move. But that would be silly. Dan is in Indiana now. But John was there to help, even though I’d never helped John move before.
The field we harvest from doesn’t really matter. The principle still holds. What goes around comes around.
Harvest Size and Seed Quantity
The last principle to keep in mind is that the size of the harvest is directly related to the amount of seed planted.
If that farmer had put one single solitary corn seed in the ground how big a harvest would he get? It would be puny. In fact, since a percentage of seed doesn’t germinate at all, there is even a possibility that he wouldn’t get any harvest at all.
But if that same farmer plants a whole field of corn then he is almost guaranteed to harvest a huge crop at the end of the season.
The same is true in our lives. If we plant a little tiny amount we shouldn’t expect much of a harvest. However if we keep planting and planting then we can expect an overwhelming harvest at the proper time.
The Bible says it this way:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
And it is true.
So there you have it. The Number 1 Universal Law of Success: You will always harvest what you plant.
Go plant well and expect a great harvest!