Here are two phrases I want you to consider: The first is, “Life and commerce are like the seasons.” The second is, “You cannot change the seasons but you can change yourself.” Now, with these two phrases as guides, let’s take a look at the seasons of life and how you can best handle them:
Winter: A Time to Grow Strong First and foremost, learn how to handle winters. There are all kinds of winters. There are economic winters, when the financial wolves are at the door; there are physical winters, when our health is shot; there are personal winters, when our heart is smashed to pieces. Wintertime, Disappointments, Loneliness. That’s how the Blues were written.
Discover your season of life – learn how to work and change with the season
So the big question is how we handle the winters. Some people go to the calendar, tear out the month of January, and pretend it isn’t there. But that’s the childish approach. It solves nothing. Let me tell you what mature people do: They get stronger. They get wiser. They get better. Not a bad idea — to use the winter for personal development.
Before I understood this, I used to spend my winters looking for summers. I didn’t understand. Then, finally, when I was going through a sales slump, Mr. John said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less of a challenge, wish for more wisdom.”
Since then I can’t honestly tell you that I’ve welcomed the winters, but I can tell you that I’ve used them to gear up for spring, which always comes after winter.
Spring: A Time to Take Advantage Learn to take advantage of spring. What a great place for spring to be, right after winter. Opportunity follows difficulty. Expansion follows recession — just like clockwork. God is a genius.
Spring is the time to take advantage. Make a note of these two words. “Take Advantage”. Don’t let the pleasant weather confuse you. If you want to look good in the fall, this is the time to plant the seeds. In fact, we all have to excel at one of two things. Either we become good at planting in the spring or we learn how to beg in the fall. So get busy in the spring.
There is just a handful of springs for each of us. The Beatles wrote, “Life is so short.” And for John Lennon on the streets of New York, life was extra short.
Summer: A Time to Take Care Learn to nourish and protect your crops all summer. You can bet that as soon as you’ve planted, the insects and weeds will try to destroy your crop. And they will succeed, unless you prevent them. Part of succeeding is learning to protect what you’ve created.
And that’s the greatest lesson of summer. Here are two truths you’ll learn during your summers:
First, you’ll learn that all good will be attacked. Don’t press me for the reason. I don’t know why. But I do know that it’s true. Every garden will be invaded. Not to understand this is naive.
Second, you’ll learn that all values must be defended. All values — social, political, marital, commercial — must be defended. Every garden must be tended all summer. Unless you defend what you believe in, come fall you’ll have nothing left.
Fall: A Time to Take Responsibility.
Fall is the season where we reap the results of our springs and summers. Maturity can be defined by our ability to take full responsibility for the crops we have tended, either bountiful or meager. Accepting full responsibility is one of the highest forms of human maturity — and one of the hardest. It’s the day you pass from childhood to adulthood.
Learn to welcome fall without apology or complaint — without apology if you’ve done well and without complaint if you’ve not. It’s not easy, but it’s the mature thing to do. I used to have a lot of problems in this area, back in those early days. Just in case anyone asked, I used to carry with me a list of the reasons I wasn’t doing well.
My list, which I predictably called “reasons for not doing well”, included lots of explanations. I blamed the government. The government was at the top of my list. I blamed taxes. “Look what you’ve got left after they take everything out.” I blamed prices. “You walk into a supermarket with twenty dollars and come out with half a bag of groceries.” I blamed the weather. I blamed the traffic. I blamed my car and the car manufacturer. I blamed my negative relatives: “They are always putting me down.” I blamed my cynical neighbors. I blamed the community. Hey, I had lots of good reasons for not doing well. At least I thought I did.