What will happen to you next month or next year? Whatever happens, you should follow certain overriding principles and predictable patterns.
As you enter this world, receive parental instruction, classroom instruction, and gain experience, you may set ambitious goals and dream lofty dreams. However, as the wheel of life turns, you are subject to human emotions and vicissitudes. You must learn to experience changing of lifecycles without being changed by them; to make a constant and conscious effort to improve yourself in the face of changing circumstances.
That is why I believe in the power and value of attitude. As I read about people, their deeds and their destiny, I become more convinced that it is our natural destiny to grow, succeed, prosper, and find happiness here and now in every season of life.
By your attitude, you decide to read, or not to read; try or give up; blame yourself for your failure or blame others; tell the truth or lie; act or procrastinate; advance or recede; and succeed or fail. The God-given gift of free choice enables you to select your own development and achievement—or your own destruction.
You are placed here on earth to develop yourself and enhance your environment. How fascinating that God would leave both projects—earth and people—unfinished! Across the rivers and streams, He built no bridges; He left the pictures unpainted, songs unsung, books unwritten, and space unexplored. To do those things, God created you and gave you the capacity to do some of these things. But it’s your choice. Attitude determines choice, and choice determines results.
All that you are and all that you can become has been left to you. For as long as you live, you have the chance to work, and in the cycles and seasons of life, attitude is everything!
Life is like the changing seasons. You can’t change the seasons, but you can change yourself.
The first lesson in life is to learn how to handle the winters. They come regularly. Some are long, some are short, some are difficult, some are easy, but they always come right after autumn. There are many kinds of winters: financial winters, social winters, emotional winters, and physical winters—the winter when you can’t figure things out, the winter when everything seems to go wrong, the winter of sickness or disappointment. So you must learn how to handle the winters—the difficulty that always comes after opportunity, the recession that comes after expansion. What can you do about winters? You can get stronger, wiser, and better. The winters won’t change, but you can.
Before I understood this truth, I used to wish it was summer when it was winter. When things were difficult, I used to wish they were easy. Now I don’t wish winter were shorter or easier, I wish to be wiser and better. I don’t wish to have fewer problems, I wish to gain more skills. I don’t wish for less challenge; I wish for more wisdom.
“Life is like the changing seasons. You can’t change the seasons, but you can change yourself.”
Fortunately, following winter comes a season of activity and opportunity called springtime. It is the season for entering the fertile fields of life with seed, knowledge, commitment, and a determined effort. The mere arrival of spring is no sign that things will look great in the fall. You must do something with the spring. Either plant in the spring or go begging in the fall. Take advantage of the opportunity that spring brings. Believe in the promise of spring: as you sow, so shall you also reap. Faith provides you with an irrevocable law: for every disciplined effort you make, you will receive a multiple reward. For each cup you plant, you reap a bushel; for every good you give to another, you shall receive many in return. For every act of faith, you receive many rewards; and for every act of love you show, you receive a life of love in return.
Remember that springtime presents itself ever so briefly. You can be lulled into inactivity by its bounteous beauty. Pause long enough to soak in the aroma of the blossoming flowers, but then get to work, lest you awaken to find springtime gone with your seed still in your sack. With the intelligence, wisdom, and freedom of choice, you can exercise the discipline to plant seeds—in spite of the rocks, weeds, or other obstacles. These won’t destroy all your seeds if you plant intelligently enough. So choose action, not rest. Choose truth, not fantasy; a smile, not a frown; love, not animosity. Choose to work when springtime smiles on your life and to enjoy the good in life in all things.
Spring shows us that life is truly a constant beginning, a constant opportunity. We need only to learn to look once again at life as we did as children, letting fascination and curiosity give us welcome cause to look for the miraculous hidden among the common. Get busy quickly on your springs, your opportunities. There are just a handful of springs that have been handed to each of us. Life is brief, even at its longest. Whatever you are going to do with your life, get at it. Don’t just let the seasons pass by.
In this season of life, learn how to nourish and protect your crops. As soon as you plant seeds, the busy bugs and noxious weeds are out to take things over. And they will take it, unless you prevent it. Know that all good will be attacked, and all values must be defended. Don’t ask why. Just know that it’s true. Let reality be your best beginning. Every garden will be invaded. Social values, political values, friendship values, and business values must be defended. Every garden must be tended all summer. If you don’t tend your garden, you’ll never have much of real value. But for those who make diligent efforts to plant, protect, and preserve, there are not enough birds, bugs, or other obstacles to destroy all the efforts of last spring.
Fall is the time to harvest the fruits of your springtime labour. You can learn how to reap in the fall without apology if you have done well and without complaint if you have not. Nothing is more exciting than bringing in a bounteous crop and nothing more dreadful than facing a barren field in the fall. In all areas, what you put into this world, you get back from it. It is nature’s way of evening the score. So regardless of the results, take full responsibility for your crop. The highest form of maturity is accepting full responsibility for your life.
Life is constantly recycling itself, and part of your challenge is learning to change with the seasons and balance opposites: day/night, good/evil, life/death, water/land, summer/winter, recession/expansion, joy/sorrow. You face many challenges and changes, but you will continue to have one winter, spring, summer, and fall each year.
Success Each Season
Much of your success will lie in your attitude and ability to plant in the springtime of opportunity, to weed and cultivate in the testing time of summer, to harvest without apology or complaint in the season of fall, and to get stronger, wiser, better in the transition and learning times of winter. It is not what happens to you that determines your future—it is how you respond and what you do about it.