When is the best time to plant a tree?

A couple of days ago I was skiing at Lake Tahoe and I shared the Gondola back down the hill with a couple from California who had gone up the mountain to sight-see.  I asked them if they skied and they answered with a categorical “No, we’d like to but we’re too old.”

Looking at them my best guess is that they’d be in their 50’s.  Interestingly, I shared a chair lift with a gentleman a couple of weeks ago and we got to chat about things as you do on a chair lift and he told me he skied most days unless the mountain was closed.  He mentioned in passing that it’s what kept him alive — he said he was 84 and didn’t start skiing until he was 62!  So much for being “too old!”

This reminds me of the question: “when’s the best time to plant a tree?” Answer: “40 years ago.”  Second best time – “NOW!”

4 thoughts on “When is the best time to plant a tree?”

  1. And I’d add that I recently read about some research findings relating to “happiness” that indicated that the things that were associated with people being in a happy state at work were NOT stability and the absence of change and challenge but rather a sense of growth, learning, mastery of difficult tasks, sharing a common “worthwhile” vision and working with colleagues towards its accomplishment. Does this describe the environment in your firm? Could it? Here are some thoughts: Do you have a vision that is clearly articulated and discussed? Do all your team members buy into it? Do your team know how and where they fit into the big picture? Do you encourage people to take on challenging tasks (delegate)? Do you give them room to fail in the knowledge that nothing is learned when there is no failure? Do you celebrate wins (=accomplishments of any sort no matter how small) publicly and vocally? These are the things that turn your team into volunteers as opposed to conscripts.

  2. Reminds me of a story about Thomas Jefferson. Later on in life he told his gardener he wanted to plant a particular type of oak tree. The gardener told him that this particular variety took a 100 years to mature. Jefferson told his gardener “then we must get busy”.

  3. Ric,

    This is great ‘food for thought’. Michael and I shared a chair lift at heavenly with a gentleman who was 82 and had started skiing when he moved to the states in 1993 – this means he was 65 when he started. After skiing just 2 seasons he decided to buy a house in tahoe and winter there just to ski – it’s amazing that some people use being ‘too old’ as an excuse… i think being ‘old’ is just a state of mind…

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