A farmer plants a lone seed in the ground. She knows it will take many years to grow. Each day she returns to the spot. She waters the soil, cleans the area, and walks away. She believes her efforts will pay off. It won’t be for many, many months until she’ll know for sure. A year goes by. Then two. Then three. Each day the farmer returns. She waters, cleans, and then leaves. The spot remains barren though.
There is no sprout in sight. Her neighbors mock her. They say she’s wasting her time. She ignores them. Or at least tries to. Day after day she returns to the spot. Day after day she nurtures this thing that she’s not even sure is alive…
In your pursuits, progress isn’t always clearly defined. You might feel like the farmer, toiling day after day, unsure of your future. Yet just because the soil is unbroken doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time. Here are five signs you’re on the right path and don’t even know it.
The eyes have it
A friend once mentioned how he looks forward to Mondays. He loves his work and can’t wait for his week to start. How do you feel waking up on Monday? Is it a moment you dread all weekend? Or is it something you look forward to? One way to tell if you’re on the right path is by that feeling. When your eyes open for the first time, note whether you are excited to start the day. Or conversely, whether you wish you could turn back the clock to Sunday.
You don’t necessarily need to wake up happy and smiling. Rather, it’s more knowing that your day is filled with meaningful pursuits. Where the work you do, the people you talk with, and the foods you consume add purpose to your life. Where you get fulfillment out of your actions. You know you’re on the right path when your eyes open to a day filled with meaning and opportunity.
A valley above
When I look back on my life, I see a mountain range. I see peaks and valleys. More than that though, I see a pattern. As my life progresses, I see that many of my valleys today are higher than my previous peaks. Meaning that my low points at present are higher than my past highs. I believe in this idea so much that I have it tattooed on my left bicep.
What do you see when you look back? Notice the way your mountain range is trending.
If you seem to be crawling from one canyon to another, consider making a change. On the other hand, if your range mirrors mine, take it as a sign that you’re on the right path. Again, it doesn’t mean things are always sunshine and smiles. Rather, it means that over the long term you are trending in an ever-improving direction.
Levels across the board
Think of any video game. Many of the most popular include some form of leveling up. At the beginning, you are helpless. With experience, you grow gradually more powerful. Consider the various aspects of who you are. The parent, the spouse, the athlete, the entrepreneur, the money-manager.
In reflection, note what level you are now compared to where you were in the past.
Are you still a level one in terms of finance? Are you only a level two in terms of your physical health even though you’ve complained about it for over a decade? Or, are you gradually improving across the board? Do you see growth amongst your various categories? If so, you are on the right path.
Compliments at random
Something changed for me recently. Unprompted, friends and family started complimenting me on my writing. They had emotionally supported me for years, but for the first time they now started throwing spontaneous praise my way. This is one of the clearest signs you’re on the right path. When you start receiving compliments at random, totally unprompted, you are doing something right.
The “work” doesn’t matter. It could be in the realm of music, web design, or customer acquisition. When the compliments start flowing, take it as a sign you’re moving in the right direction. Don’t let it get to your head though. Rather, use it to validate your efforts.
Two hands interlocked
Many a night as I close my eyes, I am struck with a feeling of everything coming together. Of knowing my work is paying off. That tomorrow will bring more promise, more opportunity, more meaning. On one hand you have work. Work you either do or don’t do. On the other you have time. Time that will pass regardless of how you spend it.
When you interlock them, you have consistent work and continual time coming together.
In that, there is progress. There is result. There is fulfillment. The final sign you’re on the right path is that you experience the feeling of everything coming together. You have no better way to explain it. Often, you have no analytical or logical checkmark to point to. All you have is a feeling. And the feeling is right.
Moving forward on the right path
Let’s conclude our story from earlier. There’s a knock at the farmer’s door. It’s one of her neighbors. Something’s going on with the seedling.
At first, all she sees is a crowd of people. Then she becomes aware of something out of place. Where a small patch of empty dirt once was, a tree now stands. Not just any tree though. It’s her tree. Overnight, her little seed sprouted into a tree 20 feet tall. She smiles. Her work paid off. And better still, she knows that if it’s 20 feet today, it could be 100 more tomorrow. She was on the right path after all. For your reference, here are five signs you are too.
- Your days are meaningful.
- Today’s low points are higher than your previous high points.
- You see growth across the categories of your life.
- You receive unprompted compliments on your efforts.
- Everything feels like it’s coming together.