Oak Tree vs. The Microwave

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb

There are so many young adults today completely lost. Totally disillusioned and frustrated. So many fine young men and women in their 20s, 30s, and even 40’s who’ve lost touch with the natural maturation process of personal development and personal success. These individuals seek instant gratification. They want success, and they want it now! The phrase, “paying your dues” unfortunately, doesn’t register or doesn’t apply to them . . . or so they think.

Why? I’m thinking you can go ahead and blame it on the microwave oven. Yes, the microwave oven. Think about it, these same “kids” are now adults and they’ve only known one thing — instant gratification! Need a quick meal? Pop it in the microwave. How about some leftovers – throw it in the microwave. The trusty microwave has now made the concept of “waiting” obsolete.

Consider that on some Freudian Esque level, one of our most basic needs – food (warm food) has been relegated to a 30 second episode. There are now multiple generations programmed for instant gratification.

For the last 30 years, the microwave has subconsciously programmed millions of youth to think that they can have anything right away. Whether it’s a piece of pizza or, I humbly submit to you, success!

So what happens to these poor souls? Well, so many of these individuals become frustrated when they realize that life doesn’t work like their favorite kitchen appliance. They expect that they’ll get what they want out of life when they want it. The house, the car, the fabulous career will be theirs in a few years (max). Sure, their parents’ careers may have taken 20 or even 30 years, but they knew they could do it faster and better.

Stephen Covey has a marvelous phrase for this. He calls it “The Law of the Farm.” Life is much like a farm controlled by timeless principles. You plant your ideals and your goals and then watch them grow. You just can’t rush certain things. No farmer ever “crammed” to get a crop to grow. No matter what you do, you can’t get corn to grow any faster than nature intended it to.

Yes, farming takes time. The farmer works diligently in the off months preparing the soil. He then carefully sows the seeds. The next step could then be not only the most frustrating, but also the most nerve-wracking. He must patiently allow the natural laws to take effect. Wait for the seeds to mature. But does he worry that the seeds won’t mature or bring forth the crop? No. He diligently works on the crop, day after day, and knows the fruit of his labor is assured—in due course.

And so it is with our lives and our goals. It’s not easy, and there are no shortcuts. We work for years preparing the soil for our success, and then we sow the seeds. Then comes the gestation period. We wait for those seeds to grow and our success to ripen.

The “microwave generation,” however, expects—without even recognizing it—success to be instant. They really expect instant development. They haven’t yet grasped the idea that “overnight” success—in both business and personal development—actually translates into, far more often than not, a 20-year process!

Consider what the American talk show host Monty Hall said: “Actually, I’m an overnight success. It just took 20 years.” This is why Confucius said nearly 3,000 years ago, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago—the second best time is now.”

Does this mean that you won’t experience immediate improvements by following and practicing the three C’s?

Absolutely not! As soon as you start employing the ideas of the three C’s and working the exercises, you’ll discover a whole new world. You are likely to gain a greater sense of clarity about your world and your life. You’ll gain insight beyond your years. What’s more, you’ll have a working “recipe” to create immediate, positive changes throughout your life.

Will your business flourish and thrive overnight? Will your career take off overnight? Will your relationships be model relationships overnight? Probably not. Will your business, career or relationships see a dramatic change for the better within a year? Absolutely.