In our previous Wisdom Note, we continued our series called The Cycles and Seasons of Life, Be Prepared for Winter. This week we finish this 10 part series about the cycles and seasons of life, and our focus is making your winters count. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
To be successful in life, we must fully understand the laws of planting and harvesting. Realize also that during your lifetime, there will be many different cycles of seasons. Just because particular cycles of seasons did not produce the harvest you expected, don’t let that control future seasons, or the entirety of your life. This week on our Wisdom Notes, let us continue the winter season which must be a time for reflection and planning while each new spring season gives you an opportunity to start new again. This week’s trek is titled…
Make Your Winter Seasons Count
As we continue to ponder the winter seasons of life, you need to grasp that throughout all the seasons of the year, winter can touch your lives in many small ways, as if it were testing you and providing you with subtle reminders of the plight of those whose lives are surrounded by winter. Winter can be a lost opportunity or the loss of love. A winter is when a trusted friend gives you cause for disappointment when your children, young or old, make unwise decisions that will force them into a winter season, or even when expected business goes to a competitor. Like a frigid blast from the cold, harsh words of someone you love is winter, and so is the pessimism or cynicism from someone whose advice and counsel you seek.
The major challenge confronting those who seem to be in a perpetual winter is that they don’t prepare for the arrival of spring, and lack the ability to recognize that arrival. So that you don’t become like this yourself, you must be planning, learning, and preparing so that you become part of the solution rather than allowing yourself to remain part of the problem.
If you are currently without love, money, or employment, it is a winter, and its very appearance is because you’ve missed a springtime somewhere. Even if it was not your intention, neglect is always costly, and winter is merely a circumstance—an effect brought on by some earlier cause. Dwelling on the severity of your personal winter merely makes the winter more difficult to endure. You must search the inner confines of your mind and your soul for the purpose of discovering the real cause within you.
Adversity is seldom attributable to someone or something outside of ourselves. To blame outside influences for the circumstance of winter is a convenient excuse for misplacing your responsibility. It is the normal human tendency to place blame for a winter of life on someone else, which is why most humans harvest the result of mediocrity that accompanies such behavior.
For circumstances to change, your attitudes, opinions, and habits must change. Conversation on how circumstances ought to be or on why situations aren’t fair is just that conversation! Unproductive conversation is what the lazy and unambitious engage in during the winters of life, for there is a certain euphoria that such empty conversation produces which dulls the senses from the harsh reality of how circumstances really are. The same euphoria is found on television and the internet. It will get you all worked up but does not provide a solution to your winter seasons. It is so easy to use it as an attempt to escape from an empty life. Since this will not solve the issues, many turn to alcohol and other drugs, seeking solutions in external means. Others turn to idle gossip, which allows those who engage in it to overlook their own weaknesses by attacking the weaknesses of others.
Instead, let winter find you planning for the arrival of spring, not contemplating the errors of commission and omission of last year. Let winter find you with a joyful countenance and a happy heart. Even if your winter is still dark and cold currently, share a good word for all those around you. Do it with confidence in the future, not apprehension; with an appreciation of the past, not regret; and finally, with gratitude for your achievements, adversities, and uncertainties of life, for each is a form of blessing that removes all limitations from the future possibilities of life.
Winter is a time for examining, pondering, and reflecting. It is a time for re-evaluating both purpose and procedure, for rediscovering an often misplaced sense of purpose. It is a time for finding new ways of solving old dilemmas and for devising unique plans for contributing to others less fortunate than yourself. It is a time for understanding and controlling anger, that frequent human emotion which causes us to pass judgment without fair deliberation. It is a time to analyze your fairness and to overcome your tendency to hastily spew out condemnation without a full investigation, which is the height of ignorance.
Winter is a time for being sincere with yourself and about yourself when the tendency is to fool yourself. It is a time for developing the skills that allow you to get along with imperfect people, for even a fool can get along with perfect people. It is also a time for becoming wise enough to know what to say, as well as to know what to overlook and what not to say.
The wisdom that comes with the careful use of winter teaches you also that evolution is merely revolution at a slower pace and that constant gradual change is the order of God’s universe. Only those worthy human attributes of honesty, loyalty, love, and trust in God and in your fellow humans are meant to remain constant. Winter is a time for being grateful for your achievements or for having endured your lack of achievement.
The physically inactive season of winter is a time for adding to your storehouse of knowledge through continued education, which in truth does not mean learning things that you do not know but in learning to behave as you do not now behave. The facts and things of life are automatically learned when you become inspired with the excitement of high expectations and belief in your own abilities.
With winter comes the opportunity to catch up on unkempt promises and on unanswered letters. It is a time also for encouraging the young, who with their inexperience are insecure, and for encouraging the old, whom because of their experience are apprehensive of the future. Let not a winter go by without investing much of your time in assuring, teaching, and encouraging others. For in so doing, your reward will be an uplifted confidence in yourself; the teacher is always the greatest recipient of the lessons he seeks to teach to others. Let winter find you thinking first of someone else, appreciating, being kind, and being gentle. And by all means, let winter find you laughing more, even though the winds blow cold and the snows cover the soil which will soon bring new life.
Someone once said, “Don’t pray for things to be easier, rather, pray for more obstacles and more challenges, for it is out of these that man’s character and will to succeed are formed.” Nearly every success story that I am aware of began when the person first lay flat on his mental and financial back. In this condition, people usually become sufficiently disgusted to reach deep down inside and pull out talent, ability, desire, and determination, which are the basic essentials required of anyone wishing to free themselves from the winters of life. It is in the face of adversity that circumstances begin to change, and the circumstances always change as a result of the personal change that takes place.
I have discovered that circumstances never change by themselves. It’s when a human with sufficient disgust, desire, and determination to change his life finally steps up and shouts for all the world to hear, “I have had it with defeat and humiliation, and I will tolerate it no longer.” That is when time, fate, and circumstances call a hasty conference, and all three wearily agree, “We had best step aside because we are powerless to stop that kind of resolve.” Unfortunately, the masses of people don’t change, they wait for circumstances to change, blaming others or blaming circumstances for their meager progress. They accept defeat as though it was God’s design for humanity to wallow in pools of defeat and self-pity.
It is in the face of adversity that circumstances begin to change
The fact is, life is going to continue, even though you may now be defeated. The world will wake up tomorrow just as it did today, and events will continue to unfold with repeated regularity of God’s creation. Your role of present failure, or success, is a temporary condition. You can rebound from failure as surely as you gravitated into failure. The condition of any person who feels defeated and ashamed is being repeated by thousands of humans around the world at this same moment in time. You must bring to mind the phrase, “This too shall pass” each time you are tempted to think you have accepted all the negativity and failure that your life could tolerate.
For everyone who is mentally, spiritually, and financially exhausted, a few will grasp for a new beginning. When they find it, they will pull themselves to their feet and move back into the world. It is then that they will not only do well, but leave their mark indelibly impressed upon the spiritual, business, political, or social world. They will be written about, talked about, and examined by their peers in numerous ways. The world will then pass judgment upon them as being “lucky” in some way and will be unaware of the agony and loneliness that each one experienced before he or she began his or her march upward toward accomplishment.
So, foolish as it may sound, thank God for your present limitations or failure if that should be the case, for you now occupy a status from which nearly all success stories originate. You can go where you want to go, do what you want to do, and become what you want to become, right from where you are today.
Over the time of recorded history, millions who were in abject poverty, had significant handicaps, or had failed many times chose through faith and hope that they would not remain in that circumstance. We can think of Longfellow, Michelangelo, Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Ford, Disney, and many others.
So be grateful for your adversity for it is the seed that you can now plant in the spring seasons of life for your own better future. The world will willingly stand by and let you feel sorry for yourself until you finally die, broke and alone, if that’s what you desire. It will also stand aside for you once you firmly decide that your present winter season is only temporary and that you will get back up and go on to make your impact on your world. The fact is, the world doesn’t really have time to care which choice you make, so for yourself at least, give a run at adventure with your eyes firmly set on achievement, not merely existence and self-pity.
From this moment on, and for what remains of the balance of your life, make your commitment to excellence, remembering that it is your challenge to succeed. After all, you only have one life! Do something remarkable!
We have now completed our ten-part series of the Cycles and Seasons of Life. Let us commit to living effectively during each season. In our next Wisdom Note, we will explore finding your motivation. Encourage your friends and family to join us on our 5-days a week podcast: Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.