“My philosophy is taking me somewhere. The big question is where. The accumulation of equity will either be there or won’t be there. Life accumulates. And I’m either accumulating debt that I’ll be sorry for or I am accumulating value that I’ll be happy about.” — Jim Rohn, personal development author and speaker

A farmer prayed fervently every night during harvest season for a fine crop. He pleaded for crops as fine as his neighbors. After one night of particularly strong lamenting and pleading, the Lord finally replied. “Ben,” He exclaimed, “How can I give you a harvest? You didn’t plant any seeds last spring.”

Now is the time to prepare for our next harvest. We can’t wait until harvest time to plant the seeds. We can’t strike a bargain to plant seeds once we see whether the harvest is worth the effort. Kerry was in her forties and slowly working her way toward a degree on a part-time basis. Many of her friends and family tried to discourage her from “wasting her time.” “You will be 50 by the time you finally get your degree,” they told her. Kerry responded, “I wish I would have completed my degree years ago. But since I am going to be 50 anyway, I want to have a degree when I get there.” Harvest time will arrive whether we’re ready or not. Now is the time to plant the seeds for the coming harvests.

Our choices accumulate in our personal choice accounts. We’re accumulating deficits or surpluses with each decision we make. Here are a few examples:

  • After 40, our face is our own fault. It can be etched with worry or laugh lines.
  • We can have ever strengthening relationships and support networks or grow more lonely and isolated as time goes by.
  • Our career expertise and experience can build toward ever-higher levels of responsibility, choices, and mastery or we can become stagnant, obsolete, and dispensable.
  • We can continuously grow and prepare ourselves for new opportunities or maintain status quo and become a victim of “sudden change.”
  • Our financial wealth can be growing and providing confidence in our future or we can be steadily narrowing future choices and planting seeds of insecurity and dependency.
  • We can keep increasing the levels of love we give and receive or become ever more distant, cold, and uncaring.
  • Our reputation for keeping our word can build trust or our lack of dependability can cause people to doubt our promises.
  • We can grow older and wiser as our years accumulate or just get old.

As with an active bank account, few of these choice accumulations are permanent. We are continually shifting the balance of our choice account. However, the longer our poor choices are allowed to accumulate, the more time and effort will be needed to shift that balance. So we need to get started immediately. Doing nothing won’t reverse a negative trend. Now is the time to change the balance for five years from now. Five years ago we made choices that accumulated into today’s circumstances. Time and change march on whether we’re ready or not. Five years from now will arrive. Our choice accumulations over the next five years will determine whether we look back with regret or satisfaction.