The Power and The Possibilities of Long Term Planning

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”― Henry David Thoreau

This weekend we drove to Vermont for a Christmas party. En route we passed a big apple orchard that we’ve been driving past for years.  To our amazement the orchard owners had cut down hundreds of its ancient crooked trees and planted new saplings all over their fields. We both just stared in amazement and contemplated from a business standpoint what an investment that must be and what a statement that is about career longevity and the future of their business.

I am no orchard or apple specialist, but I am under the assumption that trees take a while to grow and that baby apple trees don’t fruit zillions upon zillions of apples in the first few years. These rugged business owners are in it for the long haul.

As we continued our drive the two of us tried to contemplate anything in our life as long term oriented as that field of saplings. We couldn’t come up with anything. Even our careers, though quite comfortable and presumably long term are not laid in stone. We could both change occupations at the drop of a hat because there is nothing in the ground, literally growing towards our future.

Today I came across this article written in response to Nelson Mandela’s passing. It is written for entrepreneurs, but I think it is appropriate for anyone trying to get a grasp on the larger picture in life. If at the end of this year you are needing new vision or perspective I highly suggest reading this or anything else about Mandela’s life.

I’m wondering this morning what are our apple trees? What do we each need to plant to see profits in 30 or 50 years? What do we want our children to experience, as they are young adults or even middle aged? What kind of world do we hope they are living in?

My apple trees are my patients. I want them around in 30 to 50 years and I want to treat their children and their children’s children. I want to see generations age within healthy, comfortable lifestyles. I want to be able to see illness coming from years away so that we have time to treat it and prevent it before it ever leads to something dangerous. I want to prevent injuries by protecting the delicate balance of fluids and qi in the body. Mostly I want to educate people about what their lives could be like if they were pain-free and how to hold higher standards of wellness. I want to work with expecting parents and teach them the signs of health so they can utilize that knowledge as they raise their little ones.

Do you think about the way you are able to change the world? Do you think about the power and longevity of your voice and your actions?

The hamster wheel of life is real. In so many peoples’ lives it takes catastrophe to slow them down or initiate a full pause. Don’t be that person. If you are spinning around and around without moving, make time to stop long enough to think about how things could be different. What trees need planting in your life?

December is hectic; it is every year. But it is the lead up to the New Year. Make sure during the next few weeks you make time to sit and contemplate where you want to be in 12 months and how you might get there. And then think about where you want to be in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? What do you need to do today or during this year in order to get there?

Image credit: jakkapan / 123RF Stock Photo

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