“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” — Henry David Thoreau
Sometimes a company will “harvest” an asset. That means they are no longer investing in its upkeep and maintenance. They are just using it up until it is gone. Many, if not most companies, are now harvesting their employees as well. They are sucking the life blood out of them without concern for their long-term health and productivity. They are using them up for short-term gain. Employees are carried as expenses not as assets.
In the corporate world people like to complain about this a lot. But those same people are often doing the same thing in their own lives. The very fact they are working for a company that harvests them is a choice they are making to harvest themselves for a paycheck.
You can be planting acorns that will grow into mighty oaks or you can be the person who cuts them down. Which would you prefer to be your legacy? You can be creating something timeless or you can be attracted to the distraction of the trivial. Are you investing in yourself by planting seeds that will grow or are you harvesting yourself for short-term gain?
“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” — William James
It may seem harmless now, but someday you will regret the constant harvesting of yourself or others. I’d like to believe that if we’d put our minds to it we could find things to do that are both pleasurable in the now and that plant instead of harvest. It’s not that hard. In fact I find that I am getting much more pleasure out of my planting than I used to get out of harvesting. The benefit of the harvest is really short-lived.
When you decide how to use your time, you can decide to build sandcastles for momentary pleasure that will be washed away when the tide returns, or you can invest your time in something that will grow and produce for the future. You can plant seeds within yourself by reading and studying or you can watch reality shows on TV. If the former gives you pleasure, why are you wasting your time on the latter?
You can write something timeless or you can watch the latest celebrity gossip. You can invest in a quality relationship or you can play endless hours of video games. You can brighten someone’s day with a small act of kindness or you can bitch and complain your way into your grave. You can create or you can waste.
“You have been given an extraordinary gift – your life. You have an exceptional calling – to be the very best you God created you to be. Your goal is to unwrap this gift and use all that you’ve been given in the pursuit of what matters most.” — Chris and Kerry Shook
I’m not going to tell you what to do because there is no way I can know what’s best for you. Some amount of time playing video games may actually be good for you. But I am going to tell you to think about how you spend your time. Don’t think about it for anyone else. Don’t do what I or anyone else think you should do. Plant your own seeds in your own way, but do try planting instead of mindless harvesting for a change.
I’m not against downtime. In fact I consider it a requirement for your own personal maintenance. But maybe the next time you take some downtime you can consider the quality of that downtime. Are you just distracting yourself with the superficial and trivial or are you investing quality time in your own maintenance?
If you need some downtime to refresh your soul, try gazing into the deep cosmos instead of watching America’s stupidest home videos. If you must stare at the tube, pop in a DVD of Planet Earth instead of vegetating over America’s biggest losers. Why not take a Thoreau weekend:
“There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.” — Henry David Thoreau
Live passionately and boldly, love completely, and leave a legacy.
“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” — George Bernard Shaw
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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