Are you ready for your winter? Can you say that you are better equipped to face your winter? It is not a question of “if” winter will come but rather a question of “when”. What you do today will determine the kind of experience you will have in winter. I will like to share a story I read some years ago. The story may be old but I keep seeing new applications each time I re-read it. So, join me on this storylane…
One summer day, a lazy grasshopper was chirping and sitting and playing games, just as he did every day. A hard-working ant passed by, carrying a huge leaf that he was taking back to the ant’s nest. The grassshopper said to the ant, “All you ants do is to work all day. You should be more like me and play, play, play.”
The ant replied, ” I’m storing food for the winter season. You should be working, for just the same reason. What will you eat when the weather gets cold? How will you feed your hungry household?” The grasshopper laughed, “All you ants do is work and worry. Slow down, don’t be in a such a hurry. Just look around, there’s plenty of food; don’t give me advice, that’s just plain rude.”
The ant kept working, the grasshopper kept playing, and winter soon came. The ant had prepared for the winter and had enough food stored in the nest to last through the cold, harsh winter weather. Now that winter had arrived, the grasshopper couldn’t find any food and soon became very hungry. He soon remembered the hard-working ant he had made fun of in the summer. The grasshopper went to the ant’s nest and asked for food.
The ant, who was still busy working at keeping the food clean and dry, said, “I toiled to save food for the winter freeze, while you spent the summer playing in ease. I stored just enough food for the winter, it’s true, but I can’t feed you all winter, or I’ll starve too.”
The ant, however, gave the grasshoper a few crumbs, but the grasshopper was cold, miserable, and hungry all winter. The next summer, the grasshopper worked hard to store food for the upcoming winter. That next winter, the grasshopper was well fed and happy! He learned to think ahead and plan for the future.
Can you pick any lesson(s) from this story? If not, I would suggest that you go back and read it again until the message sinks. However, I will like to share some of the lessons I have been able to pick from the story.
Winter is inevitable. Every human being and business will go through a winter period. The only difference is the timing. You might be going through your winter time while your friend’s winter is much later. So, PLAN. Once you fail to plan, you are definitely planning to fail. No one can effectively achieve an objective that he or she does not have clearly defined. The ant’s main objective was to ensure that he had enough food in winter. This he planned to achieve. Likewise, you and I have to think things through, decide on the kind of lifestyle we want irrespective of circumstance, and write out our plan to achieve it.
“the depth of your plan determines the length of your success,” Rev’d Sam Adeyemi
So, if you really need to succeed, you need to embrace planning as part of your life. You need to plan very well so that you can sweat less. Only then can we do as Dr. Stephen R. Covey suggests, “begin with the end in mind.”
The next important lesson is that the Ant prepared for the winter. There is no easy way out. There are basically two types of pain available – pain of discipline and pain of regret. So choose the one you want. You can either choose to be the ant or the grasshopper. The ball is in your court. Commit to learn new trade, study, practice, take that lecture, attend that seminar and go for that course.
Exercise, listen to those tapes, nurture a relationship, read that book (especially those written by people who have gone ahead in your chosen field). Someone somewhere has passed through your current path in your business or career. His/her experience has been packaged in a book / CD and is within your reach. Instead of you charting the course all over, grab the book/CD, digest the content therein and apply it to the situation at hand. You will be surprised at easy things will turn out to be. The important thing is to do something today that will make the path smoother tomorrow.
The ant did not stop at preparation. The ant performed. He worked every day during summer to gather his food. David Schwartz made this simple but profound statement,
“the only way to start, is to start.“
The simple fact is that the best laid plans, the most comprehensive preparation, can still lead to nothing unless you endeavour to take the necessary action. No matter how strong and promising your plans and preparation are, once ye fail to act, you would still be heading no where. The action step does not have to be perfect. They just have to be taking you towards achieving your plan.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale observed,
“If you put off everything until you’re sure of it, you’ll get nothing done.”
One of my favourite passage in the Bible – Ecclesiastes 11:4 – even confirms this,
“He that observeth the wind shall not show; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”.
The truth is that nothing would be achieved until you set out to act. We would only continue to make matter worse. The need to act the plans does not only become necessary but important. Nike – one of the top kit manufacturing company in the world – has the right idea in her simple slogan, “Do it!” So, I advice that you change your motto to “DO IT” now.
The ant was persistent. Discouragement came from grasshopper painting picture of a better way to live. But the ant did not let go of his goal / plan. Will the road ahead be smooth? Will there be any adversity on the way? Yes… The difference between the successful person and the one stalked by failure is not the adversity – everybody has that. What do you do when you are faced with obstacle on the way? Do you regroup and hit it hard again, or do you just lay it down and quit? Many people have made a u-turn when success is actually around the corner.
It is therefore normal for you to have obstacles before success. Even the dictionary puts the word obstacle before success. Obstacles are there to strengthen you and offer progressive measurement of your growing strength. Discouragement sets in when you misunderstand the purpose of obstacles. Persistence is a conscious decision. So, you and I need to train ourselves to be persistent persons.