In life, we have two main options for creating businesses and careers. We have sunflowers that take a short time to grow, but require the farmer to plough and reseed after each harvest. The second option is acorns. Acorns take years to start bearing fruits but once fruiting will continue to bear fruit for decades to come without the need for reseeding.
Both options are useful and have their place in business. Sunflowers allow you to build up an income now that can help your business grow and thrive. Acorns on the other hand can help you to build something bigger than yourself and can lead you to new opportunities. The truth is we need them both, but acorns are often the ones we avoid.
Plant a Forest
Acorns are often avoided as they are frustrating to grow. You plant an acorn today and a year later you have nothing to show for it. Two years later the same situation. It is only 8 years later that you will start to see some results. While these trees may take time, they can help you to build predictable produce and other forms of income. This is why many growers plant not just one tree, but a forest. As when the forest reaches fruition, they have a forest rather than just one tree.
Besides the fruit the forest can provide wood which can be sold, animals could be attracted to the trees allowing for hunting, and the rare and valuable truffles could grow under the roots of your acorn trees. All because you had the patience to wait and water.
Patience Builds Character
We have all heard the saying “good things come to those who wait”. While this line may have often been coined by parents trying to teach their kids patience, it rings true in real life. By being patient and growing acorns alongside your sunflowers, you can build your character and a legacy.
One of the best character builders is grit. Being able to focus and remain consistent even when the results are not showing. All the great leaders had to have tremendous amounts of grit to survive insurmountable challenges. Mandela, Churchill, Bezos and Buffet; all had the patience and determination to stay true to their goals.
The results of this grit led to strong leaders who were not swayed by money and materialism or quick bucks. Instead, they focused on building themselves and the communities around them. Great leaders are good people because they understand what it is to struggle.
Whether you are building a business, a career, or a marriage; start looking at the long term. Think of the legacy you want to build, think of the life you want to create, then find a way to make it a reality. While the road will be long and hard, the struggles, setbacks and grit will build a strong character that will serve you in the future.