Most knowledge in any area resembles a mosaic of facts, principles and applications, with each expert building upon and enhancing the ideas of others in that field. In the same way, the ideas and principles of self-help authors often overlap and intersect in remarkable ways. One recent connection I discovered is that between Steven Covey’s “Law of the Farm” and the late Earl Nightingale’s concept of considering each day as the basic “building block” of a successful life.
The Law of the Farm
The concept behind the Law of the Farm is simple: As in farming, success in life comes from regular, disciplined, daily effort. Jesus expressed this life principle in the Bible, when he told us that as we sow, so shall we reap.
A farmer cannot expect to reap a bumper crop by being lazy for three months and then “cramming” to catch up. Similarly, the greatest successes in life are built slowly and deliberately through focused, consistent, high-quality efforts on a daily basis.
The basic unit of success: The day
Covey’s Law of the Farm principle is strikingly similar to a concept presented by the late Earl Nightingale in one of his audiotapes. In Nightingale’s mind, success is built upon the most basic building block of time — the day. Success comes not from sudden, sporadic bursts of activity, but through the cumulative effect of disciplined, daily effort.
Looking back upon a successful life, Nightingale asserted, a person would usually discover that no one individual day was responsible for turning the trick. Rather, it was the successful succession of days, lived as best as one can, one day at a time, that was responsible for his or her ultimate success.
There are no shortcuts
Today, it seems like many people want instant wealth and success. They want the rewards of life, but don’t really want to put forth the effort and creativity it actually takes to become successful. The metaphor of “cramming” Nightingale referred to could be compared today to those people who are constantly on the lookout for “get rich quick” schemes — shortcuts to material success which are usually too good to be true, or which may involve some moral or ethical compromises.
If these people only knew about the Law of the Farm, they would realize that they can only reap what they have sown. So if you want to increase your harvest, increase the quality of your efforts in tending to the garden plot of your work and home lives.
In short, success comes not from finding an easy shortcut or by taking advantage of one’s fellow man, but from daily, disciplined, focused effort, directed tirelessly towards a desirable goal. Try putting the Law of the Farm to work for you on a daily basis; you’ll be amazed with the results over time!