Each and every thing I do is planting a seed for either a flower or a weed. Every hour I spend is an investment in one of two directions: Health or disorder.
All day, every day I am constantly faced with choices. Every morning when I wake up I can jolt out the door or take a moment to center myself. Every day after work I can watch Youtube videos or roll out my yoga mat. In the evening I can order chicken fried rice or chop fresh carrots over the skillet.
Investments take time and work to grow. If there were quick fixes for health, happiness and purpose, I would get the prescription and pop that pill. Life doesn’t typically work that way. Unreasonable expectations and impatience can force me to give up before I even get started.
The times in my life I’ve been the least happy I was doing things that unhappy people did. I had to look at how I was spending each moment and compare that to the things happy people did. Rather than aiming for the giant end-all goal, I looked for little seeds I could plant each day towards happiness.
I don’t always see the fruits of my labors today, but that is okay. When I keep sowing healthy investments each day, the yield eventually sprouts. Learning to delay gratification now realistically prepares me for the work that is involved in the process of getting where I want to be.
To have a lasting healthy, happy and productive life it’s imperative that I look at the kind of investments I’m making today. The future shows up quick - by investing in something healthy and important today, I’ll be reaping the benefits of persistent work in the near future. The greatest danger is verbiage like, “I ought to” or “I really should.”
Tomorrow is Dangerous
It’s impossible to change everything all at once. Preparing for my 2,500 miles cycle across Europe, I didn’t learn about foreign travel and cycling overnight; It was a collection of healthy investments that built up to a great accomplishment. But I had to start in a “today” and order some maps. In another “today” I watched instructional videos on bicycle maintenance.
Tomorrow is a dangerous place to begin, because it’s too easy to start tomorrow. Today is where all growth must begin. “I really should start planning for this trip” became
“I ordered a map today; one step closer to making this real.”
The Acid Test
Is it healthy or is it not? Every decision I make I apply this B/S cutting logic. Oreos or salad? Couch or run? Help my brother or spend time on myself? Watch Seinfeld or crack open Ralph Waldo Emerson with the dusty cover? As I examine my life, I’ve find the important things need healthy investments. Beware of rationalizing bad behavior with cop-outs like, “I deserve this once in awhile.”
One Iron in the Fire
I pick one area in my life that needs the most nurturing then start putting healthy investments there. With a little effort each day positive growth begins to arise. Choosing too many areas leads to a multitude of malnourished projects.
It’s okay to make some unhealthy investments too. I don’t have to pick the apple every time. Its alright to say “screw it” and throw on Netflix after a long day. It’s the addictive compulsions that wreak havoc in life. The most powerful part is to be more aware of actions and thoughts. This will reveal patterns and habits that ultimately shape the way I invest my time and reap the results.