When we work hard at something but our efforts go unacknowledged or things go badly for some time, we tend to become discouraged.
We may lose heart, thinking, “Oh, all my efforts were for nothing” or “I shouldn’t have even bothered, since it’s not working out.”
In the end we come to feel, “It was wrong of someone like me to aim so high,” and deny the side of ourselves that had worked so hard up to that point.
But Shakyamuni Buddha teaches us that, “The seed that is sown will always bear fruit. Thus, there are no efforts that are for nothing.
Some people bloom early, others late—that is the only difference.”
Early or late, the sown seed will produce results.
There are many very successful people in the world who have been late bloomers.
The comedian Kimimaro Ayanokoji is well known for having had a latency period of thirty years.
He came to Tokyo from Kagoshima at the age of eighteen and made his debut at age twenty-eight as a performer of comic dialogues.
A long period of life at the bottom awaited him, however, as he worked introducing shows in bars and cabarets.
In the time between his debut and his first real break as an entertainer, he recorded comic dialogues with his wife onto cassette tapes and distributed them amongst older he encountered at highway service areas.
His aim was to have as many people as possible hear his comic dialogues, and he is said to have distributed several thousand cassettes over the years.
When the employees of a service area told him he had no right to engage in selling there, he explained, “I’m not selling—I’m giving these away for free,” and carried on.
He was planting seeds that he had faith would someday produce buds and flowers.
In time, some bus guides who had received the free tapes started to play them for passengers on their tour busses.
The listeners roared with laughter, and this was the start of Ayanokoji’s big break.
He was in his fifties.
His latency period of thirty years included planting seeds, and when the flowers bloomed, he became immensely popular, one of the biggest names among older audiences.
Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was another late bloomer.
In his sixties, he had to close a restaurant that he had been running for some years.
He had absolute confidence, though, in the fried chicken that had been his restaurant’s best-seller, and he wouldn’t give up on the idea of continuing to make and sell that.
He conceived the idea of having other restaurants add it to their own menus.
His idea was that he would teach the restaurants his secret recipe for the fried chicken, and they would give him a set percentage of the sales as a royalty.
This is said to have been the first example in the world of the “franchise” business model.
Colonel Sanders loaded a pressure cooker and his special spice-mixture into his car and went on a sales-trip to various restaurants, but very few were interested.
He didn’t give up, though, and kept sowing seeds, sleeping in his car night after night.
Ten years later, he had franchise agreements with six hundred restaurants throughout the USA.
That was the beginning of the present-day Kentucky Fried Chicken business.
By that time, Sanders was well over seventy!
The cherry trees that are in full bloom in the spring have not a single flower on them in winter, as if they were withered and dead.
The reason is that the “condition” of spring sunshine is not yet present.
But once that tree, which seemed withered and dead, comes in contact with the warm rays of the sun in spring, the flowers bloom.
There are many people in this world who are “late bloomers” but who eventually produce wonderful blossoms.
Some are early, some are late, but the seeds one sows always come to fruition.
If a person works very hard to accomplish something, his or her efforts will certainly become seeds saved up for future fruition.
When, despite our best efforts, results do not come, it means that the rays of spring sunlight that will cause the flowers to bloom have not yet come our way.
We should just wait, without rushing or fussing, for that warm sunlight to shine and make the flowers bloom.