In this article I’m taking a closer look at another of my quote images, and this time it’s this one…
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
I took that photo at Halnaker, West Sussex, November 2015. I had actually gone there to take photos of a great tree tunnel just down the hill, but this shot from the top of the hill was just begging to be taken, and it reminded me of the old Chinese proverb about planting trees.
Proverbs like that can be great for giving a little burst of positivity, which is great, but some of them can be taken and acted on, to make life changes that can be staggering.
This is one of those.
Some might say that the concept only has value to anyone around 40 or over, who might be looking back with regret at things they didn’t do, because if you’re 20 for example, you had no control over what you were doing 20 years ago. If you’re under 20, you probably weren’t even around then!
To say that would be wrong though – I think the proverb applies to all, it’s just a case of looking at from a different angle.
If you are one of those in the over 40 group that look at your life now, and look back twenty years and wish you’d done things differently, then you’re not alone. People do it all the time, and if they made a ‘mistake’ all those years ago by not doing or starting something, then they compound that mistake by assuming the chance has gone, that the twenty years of time lost means there is no way they can catch up now.
In some cases that may be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s automatically true in all cases, and the best way to know whether it’s true or not, is to get on and find out!
Also, it’s important to look at others who *did* plant that tree in their life 20 years ago, who did start down that road, who did do that thing. Take a good long look at your current situation and compare what their current situation is like, and maybe the sacrifices they had to make that you didn‘t. Is their intervening 20 years something you *really* wanted, or are you looking at their life with rose coloured glasses?
If it *is* what you wanted, then ask yourself what would happen if you did plant the ‘tree’ now. What could you achieve, and where could you be in 5, 10, 15 years from now if you took action?
Do you see the point I’m making?
Looking back with regret is not healthy, unless you use it as a spur to take action now. It’s all too easy to get used to a comfort blanket of thinking the chance has gone, when there is still plenty of opportunity right now! It could be that you miss the opportunity to act *yet again* because you are too busy looking back. That could mean that in 5, 10, 15 years in the future you will be looking back *yet again* and regretting your lack of action.
That’s a choice, and it’s your choice.
If you are in the 20 or under age bracket, and wondering what I’m waffling on about, then yes, the proverb does still apply to you…
I know it may be hard to imagine yourself in your 40s, but consider people who *are* that age, looking back with regret at opportunities not taken – will that be you? Project yourself into the future, looking back at the opportunities you have right now.
Are you taking them? Or are you thinking that it will all happen by magic, that the goal achievement fairies will do it for you?
If you’re leaving it for this year, then if you’re not careful that will turn into next year too, then 5, then 10, and you can see where I’m going with that!
That’s a choice, and yes, it’s your choice.
I love looking for the positives, I love sharing them with others, which is why I love this proverb so much. Whereas it might seem to be a negative idea, it’s actually driven by a massively positive message.
I don’t know what it says on the front of your own packets of tree seeds in your life, but whatever it says, isn’t it time you open that packet, plant the seeds and find out what happens? If the best time was twenty years ago, then that time has indeed gone, it’s in the past. The second best time is still available to you, and it’s right now!
Ok, as ever, I’d love to hear what you think, do leave a comment!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. If you think you’d like some guidance when it comes to your own ‘planting of trees’, do watch the free video series covering my 8 step goal achievement formula!