This morning the farmer who looks after the land behind my house cut his second crop of hay for the year. The first crop was harvested from the same field about 5 weeks ago.
At the moment the hay is lying green in long rows with equal gaps between. The farmer will leave it a couple of days to dry in the sun, depending on the weather he may turn it. By the end of the week he will collect in the bales and remove from the field.
This is a process that has been going on for centuries.
The 21st century farmer has the advantages of efficient mechanisation and a better understanding of the biochemistry that sustains the soil long term.
There is a comparison to be drawn between what a farmer does and what we all do in our daily lives, whether it is leading others, or in taking the lead in our own lives.
The farmer is intent mainly on the environment. He knows that the best way for him to yield a good crop is to look after the land. The more he can do to the nurture the land from which he makes a living – and in the process feed people – the better his chances are.
Once he has set the environment and done the best he can using all the knowledge and technology he has to make sure that what is needed is provided, then for the most part he gets out of the way.
Sometimes let things unfold naturally
In a busy life it is worth reflecting on this. It is quite hard to let go of events and let them unfold naturally. If you have had any success as a trouble-shooter noticing problems and finding ways to fix them can be second nature. Parents do this, as do teachers, managers, leaders. We do it to ourselves sometimes. We pick at areas of concern and in the process make them much more sore than they perhaps needed to be.
The farmer knows where his attention will make the greatest difference to his overall goal and chooses when to intervene.
It isn’t at all accidental. His interventions in a natural process are conscious and considered.
It can be very hard to leave well alone and there will always be times when actions are needed, but not always. The farmer steps back and observes, paying close attention but not interfering unless necessary with what will unfold.
Sometimes the option to observe the outcome gives you more information than getting in close and “fixing” things. If you are always having to step in to fix things, perhaps something more fundamental needs attention? Sometimes meddling gives you a false sense of control because you know how to deal with something you have dealt with before. But if it were fixed, would it reoccur?
You can’t see a bigger picture, the nuances, the patterns, the unexpected factors if you do not step back and learn from what you see. If you want to develop how you look at your world differently you can sign up for our newsletter here