Curated Leadership for Today's World

don't fear the reaper

Posted on 02 May 2012

seedsEvery negative thought that we think is rooted in the perception that we do not have what we want or what we think we should have. It’s tough to break this kind of stinkin’ thinkin’ when we are so bred to compare and compete across every aspect of our lives. It’s all about results, results, results. Those who get results receive the best salaries, the biggest offices, the most accolades. They deliver repeatedly and consistently and if they don’t, there is something wrong with them.

But when results become the sole focus of our lives, things can become quite scary and fearful. We find ourselves asking questions such as: Am I good enough that people will like me? Will I say the right words when I speak? What if nobody buys the books I publish? Am I qualified enough for that promotion, or so bad I’ll get laid off? Why, people are even getting so delusional they are clamoring in the streets over why they aren’t reaping something someone else has sown. We’ve come so far from Hartmann von Aue’s quote, “He who helps in the saving of others, saves himself as well”, that we have turned our own sense of humanity upside down.

This stinkin’ thinkin’ is going to get exponentially worse unless everyone turns their focus on the seeds they need to sow. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” As a business owner, if I went to bed thinking of the day’s results, I would never have the peace of mind to get a minute’s sleep or the courage to get out of bed in the morning. Whenever folks ask me how it’s going I say, “We are sowing a lot of seeds!” And I know there is no guarantee I’ll ever get to reap any of them, but that’s not the point.

We are put on this earth to sow, not to reap. The results that really matter won’t be measured in retirement accounts, entitlements, or even buildings, airports, or highways dedicated in our names, but in the number of lives we’ve touched, smiles we’ve shared, and totally selfless acts we’ve completed. What if everyone stopped saying, “I WANT”, and instead said, “I PLANT” and we all stopped fearing the reaper? We might actually return this planet to a semblance of its original state of Eden and become master gardeners of our own souls.

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2 comments

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    You’re so welcome Mark. As a publisher of tremendous material, I am up to my elbows in this kind of material every single day:-) As soon as the seeds come my way I do my best to get them into the field! The older, or should I say, wiser, I get, I realize that true life really is all about giving and service, no matter how hard the world tries to convince us otherwise.

  • Mark Armstrong: February 20, 2016

    What an uplifting sustainer! Thank you, Tracey. Now I just have to remember to come back and read this post every day!! : )

    Where on earth do you find all these wonderful quotes?? Saving oneself by saving others, judging the day by seeds planted rather than by what one’s reaped in the short term— just incredibly powerful. Avarice and worry seem to blind us to the most basic truths.

    Your prose is both lyrical and very funny— an excellent combo. Thanks, as usual, for another vital reminder: one can’t expect good things without planting seeds.

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