If you keep working and waiting without getting anything back, don’t give up. You may be making a long-term investment.
“What’s the use? What am I getting out of this? Am I really willing to keep working even though I’m getting nothing in return?” President Henry B. Eyring, while serving as Commissioner of the Church Educational System, addressed these difficult sentiments in a BYU devotional titled “A Law of Increasing Returns.”
Most of us like working only when we know it will pay off. When we mow the lawn, we often cut the grass just once. Mowing it again in another direction would be the same effort with less improvement. That’s the law of diminishing returns.
In gardening, some plants grow quickly and others grow slowly. Different kinds of harvests come at different times. And in life, President Eyring explains, the benefits of our efforts can also come quickly or slowly.
Most of us have experience with metaphorical early crops, like good grades or work bonuses. But the most important crops are often late ones—crops that require immense time and effort before they begin growing. But once we reap, we reap almost endlessly. This is a law of increasing returns.
Telling the difference between life’s early crops and its late ones can be difficult. And it’s hard to cultivate late crops—even valuable ones. Remembering that late crops are opportunities and not tests may help steady us. And while we’re waiting for our harvest, we can reassure others who are also struggling.
We constantly make decisions about whether waiting is worth it. Be patient: your harvest will amaze you.
Read Henry B. Eyring’s full article, “A Law of Increasing Returns.”
Source: BYU Speeches
—Jonathan Jibson, Mormon Insights
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