Boo!!! Boo!!! No one wants to hear that results are not under our control. We like to be in control and reap the benefits of what we sow. Just because we want to be in control and feel we deserve something, doesn’t mean we will get it. This isn’t fun to hear nor is it fun to say, but it’s true. I believe, in the grand scheme of things, we eventually get what we deserve. But this is not promised on each and every thing in life. Generally, we reap what we sow, but not always.
You Reap What You Sow
This is an old proverb, dating back thousands of years, and seen in the Bible. It has been said and re-said different ways including “As you sow, so shall you reap.” As I am sure you know, this is simply saying that you will get results that are in line with the effort you put out. As a farmer places seeds in the soil and cares for their growth, certain results are expected. If he does his job, he will typically reap the benefit. Just as a person working hard on a project, should reap the benefits of the outcome. Though I believe this old proverb to be generally true, there are exceptions.
Exceptions: We Don’t Like No Stinky Exceptions
In some cases, we will not always reap what we sow. If the farmer puts seeds in a field, and cares for them, he is NOT guaranteed the harvest he expects. For example, let’s say the farmer does everything possible to care for his corn field, but an unexpected storm tears it apart. He will not reap what he sowed. “But that’s not fair.” I agree, but it’s a reality. There is no guarantee that just because you put in the effort, you will get what you deserve.
Think about the parents who did everything right in planning to have a child, but are not able to conceive. They are doing everything possible, but it’s just not in the cards for them. Or how about practicing and practicing for the All-State band tryouts, but not being accepted. You worked your tail off, but it didn’t work out. These are exceptions and they are real.
Results Are Not Really Under Your Control
We need to accept that sometimes we will do our best, put in the effort, and not get the results we were expecting. A variety of reasons could be the case. Maybe you were too early. Maybe you were too late. Maybe you don’t know why it didn’t work out. Whatever the reason, it is what it is. There is no guarantee that you will get what you deserve. We can cry and complain that it isn’t fair, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
What Can We Do Then?
All you can do is put your best effort forth. Do your best in everything you do. Learn from any mistakes you make and try again. I believe if you do enough things right for the right amount of time, you will reap a positive outcome. I also believe that if you do enough things wrong for the right amount of time, you will reap a negative outcome. Whatever you do consistently catches up with you eventually. So, simply do your best and give everything you can to positive things. You will eventually reap the rewards of your effort.
You also need to accept that results are not really under your control. I mean really accept it. Think about this…how many times do you perform a task where you are focused more on the outcome than the effort getting there? I would bet that people typically are more worried about what comes out of the effort rather than the quality of the effort they are putting in. Instead of worrying so much about the results you will get, focus more on the quality of the work you are doing. Let the results fall as they may.
How Can Any Of This Make Me Happy?
This is a fair question, but one that is easily answered if you focus on the right thing. Since there is no guarantee in anything we do, we need to find joy in what we are doing. Instead of focusing on the outcome of our efforts, we need to focus on the satisfaction we can receive from doing something well. For example, just because you kicked butt on a project at work, doesn’t mean you will get a bonus. But, if you focus on doing a good job for the sake of doing a good job, you can find a satisfaction unparalleled by money. I know this can sound cheesy, but at the end of the day, it is about your happiness. And you can find happiness if you concentrate on the journey, rather than the destination.
The truth is there is only one real guarantee in life, and we all know what that is. For everything else, we need to just always do our best, be satisfied with our effort, and understand that results are not really under our control. We just need to keep doing the right things and focus on how we do those things. Put our best effort and let the results take care of themselves.
Believe it or not, you can find a boat load of happiness in the how of doing something rather than the what you are expecting out of it. Refuse to focus on the destination, and instead focus on the journey. Find joy in everything you do, and do it well. Your results will be in line with the joy found in the doing!!!