Ancient wisdom for today (24)

August 24th 2012, Day 24, Proverbs 24

“First plant your fields; then build your barn.” Proverbs 24:27 (The Message)

How’s this for a practical piece of advice?

Note that it says “first plant your fields”, not “first harvest your fields”. The author clearly expected that, having put in the hard work to start the process that would result in a harvest, a wise person would then set about preparing to be able to deal with the harvest when it came and not wait until they had a harvest before making those arrangements.

It occurs to me that there are two mistakes we could make in this process.

  • The first is to plan how we would like to spend the resources (whether time, money, opportunity) life might throw to us before putting the work in that will ultimately generate those resources. This is the madness behind the myth of the overnight success and the get-rich-quick scheme.
  • The second is to spend so much time “tending” the process that might one day produce those resources that we don’t spend the required time preparing to deal with them when they come. I think one of the main reasons we can slip into this mistake is fear, fear that we’re not ready yet, fear that something might go wrong. I love what Seth Godin said about this in his blog post “Fear of shipping

    ”A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it’s certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.”

    I find it so much easier to start writing a song, or a blog post than to decide it’s finished but we have to get past that point and, as Seth says in his blog post, ‘ship’
    I recently came across a blog post on this topic by Carol D. O’Dell, “Struggling to Finish?” in which the author quotes Creativity Coach, Dr. Eric Maisel as saying, “Make plans and train yourself to honor them.”. That’s a sound piece of advice right there!