The Four Seasons of Life- How to Adapt & Thrive
We all are aware of the four seasons of the year, but do you understand the four seasons of your life? Let me start by telling you a short story:
A king had four sons. To teach them an important lesson he decided to ask them to visit a cherry tree in the deep forest of their kingdom.
During the peak winter, he asked his eldest son to go and see the tree and write a description of the tree. The prince came back and told that the tree is barren, old, and hopeless. Not even birds are coming near the tree. It looks useless and maybe it is better to cut it down and use the wood before it rots.
During the middle of the spring, the king asked his second son to visit the tree and write a description of the tree. The prince came back and told that the tree is not barren, rather it is full of beautiful cherry blossoms and looks young and promising. The tree is surrounded by butterflies and bees who are enjoying its flowers.
Then, in the summer the king sent his third son to go to see the tree and come back with a description. When the prince returned, he told that there are no blossoms, rather the tree is loaded with delicious cherries and looks mature and valuable. Many birds are living on the tree and are enjoying the fruits.
Finally, in autumn the king asked his youngest son to visit the tree and bring back a description of the tree. The prince returned and described that the tree now has no fruit or flowers as his brothers described. But it looks beautiful with its colored leaves with lovely shades of gold, red and orange. It looks like an ideal object for a painting.
Then the wise king asked his sons “What did you learn from this experience?”
The other three princes were still thinking when the youngest son shared his understanding:
- Like the tree, we experience different seasons of life and we are greatly affected by them.
- We should not judge our life based on only the current season in our life.
- Every season has a purpose.
- No matter whatever the current season is, it will change again.
Four Personal Seasons of Life
As the above story describes, one of my teachers also taught me the importance of understanding the seasons of life (as explained by Jim Rohn in his book and famous speeches) and how to use them wisely. Because just as nature, so do we experience different seasons in our personal life. These different seasons can be likened to life, winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Now in old times when there was no electricity, people were more connected to these seasons. Their life, diet, and habits were adapted to the seasons and they embraced these seasons. For example, a farmer would rest in the winter and sharpen his tools. In spring he will prepare the land and plant the seeds. In summer he will nourish his crop and protect it from pests like insects, weeds, and animals. In the fall he will reap the results of his effort and patience and harvest the crop. And then he would repeat the cycle.
In the modern world due to all the technologies, we have lost touch with the seasons. We keep to the same routine, diet, and lifestyle throughout the year. This makes us forget about the natural circles of life and therefore creates an imbalance in our lives.
Like the seasons of nature, there are also Personal Seasons in life:
- Season of winter – sadness, heartbreak, loneliness, sickness
- Season of spring – hope, new beginnings, opportunities
- Season of summer – signs of growth, need for protection, an abundance of distractions
- Season of fall – successes and achievements, failures
Winter: Time to Rest, Prepare & Learn
In times when you experience winter in your life (seasonal or personal), things might look difficult and maybe hopeless and out of control. Now as winter arrives, we are in two situations: either prepared or unprepared. If you have followed the seasons and harvested successfully in the fall, winter might be easy for you and you may take more time to rest. But if you did not harvest well in the fall, then you must use the winter to prepare for the upcoming seasons. Remember, winters are the best time to prepare.
How to make best of your winter – Sharpen your tools
You should take the time to reflect, plan, and learn. Remember, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.
You should use the winter to develop your skills and knowledge. Increase your existing skills and learn some new skills. Read relevant books and follow relevant courses. Reflect on past to identify the obstacles and mistakes which you need to overcome and avoid in the future.
Find and connect with mentors, get good advice, and prepare an action plan. Throughout the winter, remember that the spring is just around the corner so do not lose hope and keep getting ready for it. Your success in the next fall is greatly dependent on your preparation in winter.
Spring: Time to Act, take Risk & Grab Opportunity
Spring brings the window of opportunity. It might come as meeting new people, a new job opportunity or an opportunity to start your own venture. This is the time to take risk and act. It is important to understand that the risk is part of the opportunity. If you want to skip the risk, you will have to skip the opportunity and you will not benefit from the upcoming seasons. Massive action in spring is necessary for the massive success in the fall. So, if you want to have a mild winter, you need to act now.
How to make best of your spring – Act, do not hesitate
Hesitation allows opportunities to be lost! This is the time to act on the plan you made in the winter, not analyze, or hesitate. Make effort, work hard, and give your best. Do not wish for a quick reward. Remember the farmer needs to work throughout the seasons to get a worthy harvest in fall. Many times, people give up because they do not have the patience to wait for the reward in the fall, they want immediate gratification. The desire for immediate gratification is the main cause for many bad winters. Be aware of this downfall and keep the picture of the greater reward which you will get in the fall. It will keep you going.
Summer: Time to Nourish & Protect
Summer is the time when your efforts begin to show promise and the path to your goal looks clearer. But success in any part of our life, like in love, career, relationships, or spiritual development is not easy. It requires consistent effort and overcoming obstacles with persistence. Even things might look promising in summer, this isn’t the time to relax. It is the time to fertilize your good habits and pull out the weed of bad habits. Make sure not to be fooled by the energy and momentum of the summer, your goal is still not accomplished yet. Your progress is vulnerable and needs protection and regular nourishment. Do not get blinded by the distractions summer brings with it. Keep the focus on your goal and its fruit. Summer is the time of invaders who may want to take benefit of your efforts or ruin your progress. Protect your progress like a farmer protects his crop from weeds and pests.
How to make the best of your summer – Care & persist
Apply what you have learned in winter. With persistent effort, your progress will be fast and visible. You will see the results of your efforts. Enjoy the momentum but do not give up or get lazy. Motivate yourselves daily by thinking of the end goal and your reasons to pursue it. Sacrifice small and quick pleasures to achieve greater and long-lasting happiness. Take pride in your progress but do not forget the final goal. Most importantly do not think it will be always this easy and smooth. Do not forget the winters.
Fall: Time to Reap Success & Failure
Fall is the moment of truth. In fall we either enjoy or excuse. Fall brings the result of your efforts. If you have taken right the action in the other three seasons, then now you will see the result far greater than your effort. If you have procrastinated and avoided consistent effort you will not have the desired outcome. The law of cause and effect is universal. It applies to every living being alike and in fall you see it with your eyes.
Remember, when you reap well, make sure to save appropriately for the winter. Wise men save first for the winter and then spend what is left. It is in the fall we discover how pleasant the winter will be.
How to make the best of you fall: Accept your results
Take responsibility for your results. Celebrate your success and accept your disappointments. Share your success with your loved ones. Save first for the winter and then spend the rest to enjoy. If you did not get the desired results, reflect on your actions in each season to understand what you missed out on, so you can do it better the next time around.
Our happiness and success in all the parts of our life is our personal responsibility. We cannot blame the circumstances or the other people for our failures. We cannot change the seasons, but we can change ourselves. Seasons are not in our control, but our actions are in our control. Proper action in each season is necessary for a joyful and remarkable life.
About the Author
Ram Jain (E-RYT 500) is a renowned yoga teacher from India and the Director of Arhanta Yoga Ashrams in India and The Netherlands. He has been teaching since 1998 and he is teaching yoga teacher training courses since 2009. In the past 10 years, he has trained over 6000 yoga teachers. Born and raised in India, his yoga education started from the age of 8 years as part of his school education. Over the period he has studied yoga and yogic philosophy in-depth from various reputed teachers. Ram is also the creator of several online education courses, such as the 50 hours Online Yin Yoga course, the online Yoga Philosophy course, and the online Ayurveda course