“I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.’” JFK preceded that recollection with this simple quote that sticks with me. “We must think and act not only for the moment but for our time.”
Thinking and acting in the moment takes a high-hope person who prevents bad times from getting worse. That person is a responder.
Thinking and acting for our time, for our generation, takes a high-hope person who transcends the moment and crafts a better future. That person is an initiator.
During down economic periods, we value the responders. They “put out fires” and keep people from running scared. Responders solve problems today and create a better tomorrow. And, during these times, we must value the initiators for their long-view and for their vision of the future that others cannot yet imagine.
Right now, we need to respond and initiate. We need to tend the garden and plant Lyautey’s tree.
Are you a responder or an initiator? Pick a role and get to work. We need hope for now and for the future…please.