Some of you probably know how much I\’m drawn to the country and to a simplified life style. Well it\’s calling me again. Last weekend I drove to my father\’s farm in Northeastern Utah and spent two days on a tractor plowing and disking the fields preparing them for planting. Amazing how much business I could conduct on a cell phone inside the cab of the tractor!
Though I\’d had my boys with me the previous weekend disking, I went alone to make sure that the furrows and lines I was making in the field were straight (heaven forbid that our neighbors think we don\’t know what we\’re doing!). You see, if the furrows are put in crooked, it becomes extremely hard to make the next pass any straighter. The tractor\’s front tire will keep falling into the furrow from the previous trip and pretty much follow the crooked line the full length of the field.
I remembered the advice an old farmer gave me as a boy on how to create a straight furrow. He said, \”Find a target at the far end of the field, aim your gas tank cap on front of your tractor at the target, and keep your eye on the goal\”. And that\’s a great technique as long as your first pass is straight.
You may never have the opportunity to plow a field, but there are patterns in our lives that we\’d undoubtedly like to fix. Here are some lessons from the farm that can help you correct the unseemly ruts in your thinking or behavior.
1. Keep your eye on the prize, whether it\’s a fence post or a patient response to an irritant
2. Anticipate the powerful pull of old ruts and prevent yourself from falling into them
3. Create a plan for dealing with the pulls of old habits/people/environments
4. Realize that if you fall in, you will need to overcorrect not just gently lean away from the rut, to get back up on top
5. Get to the end of the row (or your trial) and take time to appreciate the now straighter furrow
6. Do the same thing again. This time you will see that it\’s far easier than the first pass.
7. Follow the same principles again…by now you\’re saying, wow look how nice that worked out.
Keep plodding and plowing away. New habits and ways of thinking build off of one successful furrow!
To family success and happiness!