2 Timeless Must-have Principles That Set You Up for Success

I am reading through Ecclesiastes for my morning devotions, and I came across two verses, which form a recipe for success.

Ecclesiastes 11:4,6

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Photo by stephen momot on Unsplash

The two timeless principles for your success are as follows: Success does not come from an opportunity, so don’t wait for it and have more than one line in the water.

Let’s unpack these two timeless principles below.

Success does not come from an opportunity, so don’t wait for it.

When we hear about stories where a person made the best of the opportunity they came across, our most common reaction is how lucky they are. Unfortunately, we fail to remember that the person who used that opportunity was prepared to take advantage of that opportunity.

Basketball legend John Wooden rightly asserts that “When opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare.” The time to get started on your goals is now. There is no better day than today. You have a decision to make today, an opportunity to make a choice; how do you want the rest of your life to be? What you do today will determine your tomorrow.

Benjamin Franklin understood what Solomon says in verse 4. He says, “Only today is worth two tomorrows; what I am to be, I am now becoming.” Are you waiting for a big break in your life? Are you waiting for an opportunity to fall on your lap? What preparations have you made to accomplish your goals?

Take Initiative

The word initiative is defined as the ability to assess and initiate (do things) things independently. You act instead of reacting in life. There will always be a reason to postpone what you need to do. Are you looking for that reason? Solomon talks about the wind and the clouds that put off a person from planting and harvesting. These verses may be written as a person looking at the economy and the uncertainty in the market and delaying starting a business in today’s terms.

Taking the initiative also means you are not saying “this is not my job” because you may be missing out on an opportunity every time you say that. Your fresh set of eyes in that situation may be what is needed to solve a problem that they have. If you stayed away, you have lost a chance to spot and take advantage of an opportunity.

 “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

There is no reaping without sowing. So, if you want to reap the reward, you need to have done the preparation and the work.

Have more than one line in the water

Having more than one line in the water is a fishing analogy where you have multiple lines to increase the probability of you catching a fish.

at the evening let your hands not be idle

After you have done a full day’s work, Solomon’s advice is not to put your feet up and take a rest or watch TV till you fall asleep. Instead, he recommends taking on another skill either to learn one or practice one. Starting a side hustle is a biblical principle. What are you interested in learning? What have you been keen on trying recently? There are numerous examples of businesses that started as a side hustle and became their mainstream income.

In 2009 Kevin Systrom was working at Nextstop.com as a product manager. When he was not working, he taught himself to code. He eventually built an app called Burbn, which was a mobile check-in app with pictures. He found out that people were very much interested in sharing photos with friends. So, in 2010, he quit his day job, raised capital, and started an app called Instagram. Eventually, his company was purchased by Facebook for over a Billion dollars.

Do you see the two principles in action here? First, Kevin was having a second line in the water while still doing his first job. Second, he had to learn new skills for him to have a second line. Kevin did not do more of the same thing (being a project manager), but he acquired adjacent skills in the same field and put it to use.

for you do not know which will succeed

For every successful side hustle story, there will be at least another 100 that did not make it. Solomon is very practical about it. He is not guaranteeing you success. In fact, he says, “you do not know” Sometimes, you may have to pivot and refine your idea, while other times, you will have to scratch the whole plan and start again. In the above example, did you notice that Kevin began with an app called Burbn but then, identifying a new demand, had to pivot and rename his app to meet that demand?

Whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Sometimes one or the other while other times, both will do well. Since you can’t predict the future, no one can, it is wise to pick up new skills that add to our expertise. Do not wait for an opportunity; it may never come. Instead, volunteer yourself to learn new things and create opportunities for yourself. The time to do it to now. There is no better opportunity than today. Put into action these two principles and see how it changes your life.

I will leave you with the principles again,

Ecclesiastes 11:4,6

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

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