Right now, you are holding on your palm a seed.
Yes, a seed.
You found that perfect spot in your front yard to plant that seed. So, with a water bucket on the other hand, you march outside the house, kneel down on the dirt, dig up a fist-size hole, and carefully place that seed inside before burying it with the healthy soil that will serve as its resting place, then gently shower it water.
You have just invested your time, energy, and resources into planting a seed.
One day, fingers crossed, a tiny speck of life will sprout out of the seed breaking the shell and makings its way up the ground. The minuscule and vulnerable seedling will continue to get nourishment from the water, soil, sun, and all the nutrients in its surrounding to feed its body as it grows and grows, day after day, extending its trunk up, splitting portions into branches, branches into stems, stems growing leaves, and then, one day, flaunt itself as a full grown, beautiful plant.
You can, on a daily basis, visit your seedling, witness it grow inch by inch. But, as you stand there, you can think of all the bad things that can happen to it: that a stray animal might ruin it, a conflagration drown it to death, kids in the neighborhood might trample on the poor plant, or a nasty pest of worms would eat the plant in its oblivion. Worry about the plant’s future in this cruel world, fear for the unknown, distress over possible grim scenarios that could happen, and just lose hope and patience as the plant strives to survive.
On the other hand, as you witness the plant thrive, continue to water it, check for and prune unhealthy stems, ensure it gets proper warmth from the sun, dream of the flowers and fruits it would one day bear, care and nurture it and be excited for what it could become. Dream of its potentials.
One of the lessons I have learned this year is how we behave towards the important things in our lives. In relationships, projects, careers, or school, we can spend all our time and energy worrying for and anticipating all the things that could go wrong. Fear that it might not last. Dread over its future. Doing these only sets the important stuff to fail.
Or, we can think of all the things we can do to make it succeed. How we can further nurture or develop, steps we can take to improve, be excited for the many great and wonderful things we can expect and hope for. Think, imagine, and dream of the day when we harvest the fruits of our labors. How happy and grand that would be!
Then, after thinking and dreaming, we would actually take the initiative on working hard and with full intention to make it a success. In relationships that could be keeping in touch, saying I love you, giving gifts, spending quality time, and making sure your loved one knows how much you care. That is very important. Being intentional is an essential piece in any investment.
This is called values.
And, I hope we are a community of individuals who hope more than we fear.