Ole was a dedicated farmer who thought it best to diversify. He did some research and decided that he was going to become a chicken farmer. He went out and bought two hundred chicks and took them out into the field and planted them six inches deep in the soil. He waited a couple weeks and went back out only to see nothing growing. He went and asked his friend Lars what he should do. Lars thought for a while and told Ole that he probably should have watered them more. So Ole bought two hundred more chicks and planted them six inches deep and watered them in really well. Two weeks later he went out and looked at his field to see absolutely nothing growing. Going back to Lars he again explained the situation. Lars said, “You know things need sunlight to grow also, maybe you are planting them to deep?” Ole thought this was a good idea, bought two hundred more chicks and this time planted them in his field with just their little heads poking up out of the ground. He watered them well and waited. When he went out to check the field he saw that all of them had died.
At this point he was beside himself and decided he needed better advice than what he was getting from Lars so he wrote to the agriculture department at the University of Nebraska. He explained everything he had done with the different sets of chicks he had planted in the field and asked if they had any idea what he was doing wrong. A week later he got an official looking letter from the U of N and he opened it up to find a one sentence reply. The letter read, “Please send soil sample.”
There are many times in our lives when we are like Ole and Lars. We have grand ideas and look for advice in all the wrong places. We get a notion in our heads and can’t look past our own ideas and thoughts to see what is really wrong. It is human nature to want to be right and come up with our own solutions to the issues we face. Yet, how many times do you and I overlook the obvious problems when we are trying to come up with solutions?
Perhaps it is our own Iowa stubbornness that makes us feel this way, or perhaps we are afraid of looking less intelligent to our peers that causes this. For many of us when we were young and ready to take on the world we had a solid plan for our future and had our paths all spelled out to get us from point A to point B. It is always a great idea to set goals and work towards them, but as you and I have both learned along the way, life’s path from A to B is hardly ever a straight line. In fact most of the time it is one curvy death trap of a roller coaster kind of line with branches shooting off from it leading us to points C through Z. There isn’t anything wrong with ending up at a different spot from where you were intending to go, especially if you have learned along the way and gained invaluable life experiences that would make the meat of a good novel about your life.
The key is not getting frustrated by the end result and knowing that just because your life ended up at point J that you are stuck there unless you want to be. We can always grow, always change and as long as we keep moving forward and are happy with where we are, life can be an amazing journey…sometimes like writing a column that doesn’t end up where you thought it would. See you next week….remember, we’re all in this together and no baby chicks were harmed in the writing of this column.