In our previous Wisdom Note, I encouraged you to slow down and take life at the speed of average. Today, we are beginning a series of Wisdom Notes about the cycles and seasons of life, and specifically, taking responsibility. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
In many parts of the east coast of the US, it is time for the emergence of the 17-year cicadas. The noise that they make is truly mesmerizing. Their life cycle is very interesting as they occupy nearly all of the 17 years as grubs that burrow deep into the ground just waiting for the time to emerge. When they emerge from their rest, they break out of their shells, unfurl their wings, and are on the hunt for a mate. The females lay their eggs in soft branches of the trees, and when they hatch the grubs fall to the ground burrow deep in the earth and wait for another 17 years. Many do not make it due to birds, weather, and numerous other perils. That is their life-cycle, and each stage is a season of life for them.
Although our lives should last much longer and have more apparent significance than the cicada, we also experience distinct seasons in our lives. God has designed a purpose for the cicada, even if we may not understand it. God has a much greater purpose for our lives since we are made in His image. Let us philosophize a bit today and explore some of the seasons of life that we go through and how our decisions impact those seasons.
The Cycles and Seasons of Life – Take Responsibility
John Kennedy once remarked that Winston Churchill “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” Past generations have heard the stirring words of Cicero, Daniel Webster, Disraeli, Churchill, and Kennedy. These men were touched by their Creator with the gift of changing the course of human history and the quality of the individual life through their well-spoken words. It is with the words in this week’s Wisdom Notes if applied, your life will transform to one of living on purpose and with purpose.
For six thousand years of recorded history, humans have entered this world. They received parental instruction, classroom instruction, and gathered the experience of life. Many have set ambitious goals for themselves and dreamed lofty dreams, but upon the day that they draw their last breath have left little behind as evidence of their existence other than a birth certificate, grave marker, and nearly a million dollars in goods and services consumed between their humble beginnings and uneventful end.
Books have been written on the subject of human achievement. Seminars and webinars are conducted on how to find success. And those who have met with and embraced success willingly share their ideas and insights with all those who will listen.
For some, worldly riches are gained at the price of lost friends and broken families. For others, fortune remains forever elusive while families remain precariously intact. For most, we remain forever in one of two categories—either poor, seeking to become wealthy or wealthy, always seeking to rediscover the happiness we had while we were poor. This is certainly not a new phenomenon as King Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, ‘Here is something new!’ But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.”
This series of Wisdom Notes are a condensation of ideas and observations gained over a period of six-plus decades – both mine and what I learned from Jim Rohn and others. I will attempt to place life, its events, purpose, opportunities, and challenges into perspective. It is not intended to be an instructional treatise on either how to achieve success or how to avoid failure. If life were to hold such precise answers to age-old questions, surely their discovery would be history and each of us would now be living to enjoy our success. In truth, what is the formula for success for one will lead to the self-destruction of another. As certainly as our Creator made us individually unique, He also preserves for each of us individually unique answers to the challenges of life.
It is the purpose of this Wisdom Notes series over the next few weeks to awaken within each of us the storehouse of inspiration and answers that lie dormant, where they have been since being placed there at conception by our Creator and now reside within the hearts and minds of each of us.
On our trek through life, let us seek to discover our own individual answers to our own individual challenges by exploring the cycles and seasons of life.
The Effect of Environment on Circumstances
All of us, whether rich or poor, young or old, educated or not so educated, are the sum total of all of those people and events that have touched and nurtured us since first entering this world, or as we now know, even since our conception. Every thought that we have allowed to permeate our minds has had its impact on what we now are. Every person that we have met has had his or her impact on us. Every movie we’ve watched has had its impact. Every book or magazine we’ve read has had its impact. Every TV show has had its impact. Every podcast that we listen to has an impact. Every disappointment, triumph, doubt, dream, and love for someone each has had its impact. What we are and what we have is a result of what we slowly brought upon ourselves. It is the human tendency to blame someone or something else for our lack of progress or seeming failure — we blame family members, government, competitors, managers, economic conditions, pay schedules, some malady or condition, and even the traffic and weather for our circumstances.
Each person, circumstance, or event that left its mark — whether favorable or unfavorable — is now behind you. What happened even as recently as yesterday is no longer of any consequence unless you choose to allow it to be. What is of great importance is who and what it is that leaves its mark today and each day after that. What you have been in the past is an established and unchangeable fact.
What you can be in the future is an unlimited, boundless opportunity. Therefore, do not allow your awareness of past difficulties or failures to adversely affect your current and future possibilities. The greatest value of the past is how wisely you invest it in the future. You are free from the past, not a slave to it. Let the past be your servant for making the future both more rich and satisfying.
If you seriously accept that you deserve and will one day achieve financial freedom, then break off the “rearview mirror” of your life and concentrate on what lies ahead. Begin your quest for achievement by taking a close inventory of the people and circumstances that today touch your life, for it is their impact that will determine what lies ahead for you. To draw on my farming background I will use this analogy…The people, circumstances, and other influences that are in your life now will determine the size of your crop when harvest time comes next fall.
We have only traveled a few paces on our journey this week, and there is much to consider. We will continue this trail in our next Wisdom Note, so don’t miss it. Encourage your friends and family to join us on our 5-day a week podcast: Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.