The Seeds You Plant

The Seeds You Plant

Question: When is the best time to plant a tree?
Answer: Twenty years ago.
Question: When is the second best time?

Whenever I ask this series of questions, people almost always stumble providing an answer on both. They tend to think of the first question as related to gardening. They rarely have an answer to the second question because the way I phrase it knocks them off as they frame the first, so I let their juices flow a little bit before I drop the answer on them. I tend to pop this surprise on people who seem frustrated with the way their lives or careers or relationships have turned out or are turning out. For me, there is nothing worse than watching someone suffer a loss and feel that they’re completely defeated. So, I drop the answer on them and watch the light bulbs flicker.

Answer: Today

I am a long term investor. I invest in people and relationships. I invest in knowledge and ideas. I invest in small ways over long periods of time. Overall, I’m playing the long game and everyday I’m trying to do something that will pay dividends down the road. I have learned this simple fact; the decisions you make today affect the future you, just as the decisions you made in the past affect you today. I do not believe in destiny or fate. I choose to empower myself through choice. I choose to develop myself now and make choices that maybe other people don’t understand. But what’s the point of living life according to other’s expectations? This is my life, not theirs.

Everyone needs to embrace choice in their lives. Everyone also needs to realize that the past is meaningless. There’s nothing you can do about it, so why bother? Make your today count so your tomorrows are better. You are in control of your own destiny. You make choices, or fail to choose at all, everyday.

So many people wallow in self defeat and let their past decisions dictate their future life. You have to remember that you made decisions in the past based on the information you had on hand. Maybe you didn’t realize how important something would become down the line. Maybe you missed an opportunity because you didn’t realize how important it was. They may have been mistakes, but they were based on a level of understanding or knowledge at the time and it just might be you didn’t have all of the facts that you needed to make a good decision.

The good thing about time is that it gives us a window to look back on our lives. This is also a bad thing too. Don’t ruminate on it. Move forward. Plant your trees today and focus on the future. Your future self will thank you.

More flowers on display at Cincinnati Zoo
More flowers on display at Cincinnati Zoo