I can’t say I’m very familiar with farming, even though I’m from Texas and my depression-era grandparents had massive gardens that I always enjoyed harvesting. As society increasingly becomes more urban, more indoors, and more “service-oriented”, I’m sure there’s many of us that look romantically back at how work and culture was framed around crop-season just a century ago.
But, a few weeks ago, I was listening to an interview with one of my favorite athletes, Jordan Burroughs. Jordan is a 7-time world and Olympic champion in Wrestling (the real wrestling, not WWE…) In the interview the night before his first match, he talked about his preparation and how he was able to feel relaxed because, “the hay was in the barn.”
I’ll admit that this farming analogy was lost on me, but after thinking about it more, what he meant is that stressing about preparation or training isn’t helpful the night before the competition in a faraway country. He’s either done enough, or he hasn’t; there’s no way to prepare, stress, or work any harder at this point to make a meaningful difference in his performance the next day. The hay will either last through the winter, or it won’t, so to speak.
Prepare Today So You Don’t Stress Tomorrow
I’m not sure about you, but I’m really good at doing things last minute. And usually, we can get away with it. There aren’t many things in life these days where we can’t “figure it out” with a few hours to spare, even Amazon provides one-hour shipping in some markets. But in farming, there is no such thing as “last minute”. You either planted the seeds and worked the crops for 6 months, or you didn’t. You can’t grow a tomato in 48 hours.
So, what am I getting at? Well, I think a lot of my stress comes from the pressure to do more. And oftentimes, the pressure comes from feeling like I haven’t done enough.
One way to alleviate that stress is to pause, relax, and remember that “the hay is in the barn”. Another way to alleviate that stress is to put in the work today, for your future self to reap the benefit. Unfortunately, worrying about it more usually won’t help.
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