You can never get to zero.
- You can never pick all the pumpkins (zero left) because if you do, someone doesn’t get the one they want.
- You can never pick ALL the apples because some will naturally fall on the ground.
- You can never make everyone happy. “Zero complaints” is not even theoretically possible.
- You can never have the right amount of cider in stock – either you have too much or leave people wanting more.
- You can read all the parenting books, but you’re going to mess something up, something different, with each child.
Now, in the face of knowing you are about to do everything you’ll ever do imperfectly, what the heck are you supposed to do?!
You could give up. You might know people who let life wash over them, turn on the TV and live in the endless malaise of a world happy to feed you content. Bad news is on every channel. Every streaming service has more on it than you could watch in a lifetime. Each social media feed serves up an endless stream of repetitive content. You really don’t have to do anything. You could just give up.
You could fight. Any fight you want, you can have instantly—politics, religion, child-rearing practices, vaccines, content violence, consumerism, and on and on. You can fight (rather pointlessly) all day long, every single day. And you might want to fight.
Tony Robbins says, “People get angry because they are uncertain. When you are uncertain, you are uncomfortable. At least when you are angry, you are certain.”
Think about that – What makes you angry? Are you getting angry simply because you are uncertain about the future?
You can choose. We have a lot of teen workers. I get asked to speak in schools to 8th graders who are about to go into high school and, perhaps, the workforce, and I have one simple message for these young people ready to begin separating from strict parental control and into the world:
You have WAY MORE choice than you think you do – about everything.
- You don’t have to agree with everyone and you don’t have to convince everyone. You can simply hold a different point of view while they hold theirs.
- You don’t have to do what everyone else does because you have complete agency over your choices.
- Hiding behind your streaming TV services is not “happening to you.” It is your specific choice.
- What you eat – Your choice.
- What you spend on – Your choice.
- Who you hang out with – Your choice.
So, now we know that
- We have more agency over ourselves than we previously imagined.
- We know that you can never please everyone.
- We know that perfection, even with the best intentions, is impossible.
What are we supposed to do?
Here are some suggestions from your farmer.
- Give EVERYONE around you a little more grace and leeway. What I mean by that is that I like to imagine everyone doing their very best with their tools and abilities. If someone makes a mistake, it’s likely not that they are trying to thwart my efforts, but maybe they just don’t have the tools or skills yet to make it work.
- Operate within yourself as a real, live human being. This means I like to choose grace for myself and those around me. I know full well that I will make mistakes. I know I will displease other people. I know that I cannot satisfy every person who visits the farm. I know this, and yet, it does not cripple me, because I understand that I am doing the best I can to make this farm a great place to work, live, and visit – AND that is enough.
- Give away the title of “Master of the Universe” because you simply cannot know everything. You are NOT in control of everything; in fact, you are in control of much less than you think, and you KNOW much less than you think.
Ever get a text and become wildly offended that the person could ever mean what they texted, only to realize later that you took it entirely out of context? That was a time when you didn’t know everything.
A life-changing quote I found comes in many versions, but I like this one:
“Be kind. We never know what people are going through. Give grace and mercy because one day your circumstance could change and you may need it.” ― Germany Kent
You can never get to zero. Zero complaints. Zero anxiety. Zero money problems. Zero family strife. Zero challenges. Zero bad days.
And… it doesn’t matter.
Be kind. Keep going. Smile. Try hard. Work hard. Make good choices and imagine that everyone around you is working for good, too.
See you soon at the farm, harvest is on, and the leaves are changing. Time passes quickly but can be slowed by a choice… your choice.