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 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.
Dream – What is it that you want to do? Every major achievement in life starts with a dream. The whole world started with a dream by God. There is nothing in existence today that has not passed through the dream stage. Bill Clinton was asked what he would like to become when he was about age 3. His reply? Your guess is as correct as mine. He did not mince word in his response. He replied that he would like to become the president of United States of America. No wonder, he becomes one of the most celebrated presidents United States has ever produced.
I am sure someone will be saying that can only happen in America. What about the likes of our own Pat Utomi (Leap Frog, Lagos Business School and Platinum Bank), Bishop Oyedepo (Living Faith Church), Bose Ayeni (Tantalisers), Bunmi Oni (Cadbury Nigeria), Sunny Ojeagbase (SuccessDigest), Ayo Arowolo (Moniwise Club and Financial Standard Newspaper), Larry Izamoje (Brila FM)? These are people who have achieved so much in their fields. Their dreams have come true. There is nothing you can achieve in life without starting with a dream. DREAMS can then be said to be an important foundation upon which all achievements are built. Through dreams, we determine indirectly what our future becomes. PICTURES mean Pick-Your-Future. So, what pictures are in your mind? You can start today to determine the course of your life by dictating the pictures you allow to stay in your mind.
Plan – The old saying is still true, “if you do not know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” The saying that no one plans to fail is not really true. 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. We have got to think things through, decide what we want, and write out our plan.
Rev’d Sam Adeyemi says, “the depth of your plan determines the length of your success” So, if we really need to succeed, we need to embrace planning as part of our life. We need to plan very well so that we can sweat less. Only then can we do as Dr. Stephen R. Covey suggests, “begin with the end in mind.”
Prepare – We all know things that we could be doing right now to prepare ourselves to reach our objectives. God so much believes in preparation. No wonder Jesus Christ had to spend 30 years in the carpenter’s workshop preparing for a 3 1/2 ministry.  The Bible is full of so many examples of what preparation can do in the life of man.
“Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Hear me, my brethren and my people: I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it. I Chronicles 28:2”
David did not only have it in mind to build house for the ark of the LORD, he actually made preparation for it. This explains the reason why Solomon had more than enough to execute the building project. God appreciates preparation and it shows in everything HE does. To make the matter more interesting, we are created in the image of God.  What can we then say is our excuse? Who do we say we want to patter our lives after if not GOD who has created us in HIS image?
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. Commit to 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). Bishop Oyedepo appreciated the need for preparation and that is why he always urges people to study. Someone somewhere has passed through this same situation you are currently going through now. He packaged his experience in a book and is within your reach. Instead of you charting the course all over, grab the book, 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.
Perform – 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 we endeavour to take the necessary action. No matter how strong and promising our plans and preparation are, once we fail to act, we would still be heading no where. The action step does not have to be perfect.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale observed, “If you put off everything until you’re sure of it, you’ll get nothing done.” The Bible even confirmed this in Ecclesiastes 11:4 “He that observeth the wind shall not show; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”. The Lord said to Abraham in Genesis 12:1 to get out of his country, from his family and from his father’s house, to a land that HE will show HIM. And in Genesis 13, Abraham launched out immediately. He did not wait to consider all the options he had. He just acted on that God’s given instruction.
God has really been telling us some things HE wants us to do but we have not acted on them. We are still very much occupied with our plans that have lead us to no where. We are still weighing all the options before us and looking for favourable conditions to launch out. The truth is that nothing would be achieved until we 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!” Let us change our motto to DO IT now.
Persist – Will the road ahead be smooth? Will there be any adversity on the way? The truth that you have not achieved anything till now confirms the fact that challenges are meant to come. The difference between the successful person and the one stalked by failure is not the adversity — everybody has that. Then, what is the difference? The difference is your response – your attitude to the challenges you meet on your way. Do we regroup and hit it hard again, or do we just lay it down and quit? Many times we have made a u-turn when our success is actually around the corner.
Calvin Coolidge said,
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Failure is never an end. It should be seen as a bend towards another destination. Setbacks should be seen as the foundations upon which we build future success or the final excuse for failure — the decision is yours. Nearly everyone who develops an idea works it until it looks impossible and then gets discouraged. That is not the place to become discouraged. It is often at this point that many only see the obstacle and no longer sees their idea. They give in to discouragement, opposition and obstacles not knowing breakthrough is on the horizon. If only they were persistent.
The dictionary defines persistent as: to continue firmly or obstinately. Persistence is a state of mind. In the words of Thomas Edison,
“Just because something does not do what you planned it to do does not mean it is useless…. Reverses should be an incentive to great accomplishment. Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is just one more step forward…. There are no rules here; we are just trying to accomplish something.”
It is therefore normal for someone to have obstacles before success. Even the dictionary puts the word obstacle before success. Obstacles are there to strengthen us and offer progressive measurement of our growing strength. Discouragement sets in when we misunderstand the purpose of obstacles. Persistence is a conscious decision. So, let us train ourselves to be persistent persons.

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.

Lesson 1:

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.

Lesson 2:

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.

Lesson 3:

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.

Lesson 4:

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.

I have highlighted out 4 lessons here. Can you identify others? Kindly use the comment form to share other lessons we can apply to our lives from the story. So, I am asking the question again, are you prepared for your winter?