By Greg McClanahan
I wanted to share a few thoughts about what I think is a key element to achieving successful outcomes in our lives and in our business activities. I’ve also included a story that provides a practical example of this idea.
I believe that achieving successful results in our life is founded more upon the principles of ‘Biology’ and not ‘Psychology.’ Coming to understand this idea has changed how I look at the world and the way I operate in it. Let me use an agricultural analogy to explain. If we plant kindness in our life, the fruit that this seed will bear is kindness returned back to us. Each seed we plant has a corresponding harvest. Just as wheat seed will produce wheat, so do the seeds of our character return in kind what we plant. This is founded upon the laws of nature.
If you plant abuse, the fruit of this seed will be addiction – you can’t escape its harvest. If you plant gratitude, you will enjoy the fruit of appreciation, loyalty and commitment. With this in mind, it is so important to realize the significance of the seeds we plant in our lives. Planting the best seeds works favorably toward our success and unwise planting works against us. It solely depends upon the seeds we choose to plant and nurture — it’s Biology. The great secret that is not a secret at all is that the fruit of every seed is already hidden in that seed. We must therefore wisely choose the seeds we plant to achieve our desired harvest.
Here is an example found in the story of farmer Fleming.
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings and an elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy that farmer Fleming saved.
‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied.
At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.
‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’ And that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son’s name you ask?
Sir Winston Churchill.
We never know what good will come from our kindness but we can be assured that it will return kindness. Those are the laws of nature — those are the laws of Biology. Think of what wonderful fruit can come into our lives when we plant the seeds of patience, optimism, gratitude, perseverance, courage, love and a host of other great seeds. The next time you are tempted to be selfish or if you feel that you are being impatient; plant the opposing seed of generosity and patience. You will find that these seeds will produce successful outcomes.
I encourage all of us to be like farmer Flemming and look for ways to serve others with no expected reward and to be like Lord Randolph Churchill and return kindness when shown to us. Just do the right thing (plant the best seeds) and the fruit of your labors will indeed be sweet.
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