Is your glass half-full or half empty?

Despite the weather, I think this is a fantastic time of year – but not everyone agrees…


‘That’s it, summer’s over…’

‘Next bank holiday is Christmas day…’

‘The weather’s just going to get colder and wetter from now on…’

A group of mums I know, actually went out for a celebration ‘freedom-regained’ breakfast on the first day of term, celebrating that at last the kids were back at school


If you want to be pessimistic, that’s fine, but it doesn’t do for me. Because I trained as a farm manager back in nineteen hundred and frozen to death, I see this time of year as the start of something new and exciting.


In East Anglia, the cereal harvest is virtually complete, potatoes and onions are being lifted and the sugar beet won’t be long after that.  And next year’s crops are being sown, with diligent tractor-drivers turning the scruffy post-harvest patchwork into a neatly brushed landscape of ploughed and cultivated fields.  It’s the start of the new season and whilst many, like me, find it exciting, quite a few find it a little daunting!


Arable farmers have a tough time.  They spend all year planning, nurturing and investing in their crops, and then have a mad couple of months to try and collect the fruits of their labours.  It’s then a case of trying to sell this bounty for as high a price as possible


In my college days, we used to say that a farmer’s income was dictated by the quality of his land, influenced by the vagaries of international politics and the weather – and he can’t change any of them!  The bit we missed out was the farmer’s skill, and the quality of the help he got from agronomists and his other advisers.


Other industries are not so different.  Our profits are governed by the quality of our staff and our raw materials and the quality of our management.  I suppose the big difference is that we have more control over some of them.


With the farmer, once the seed is in the ground, the maximum yield potential has been set – his role from that point is to prevent external influences from reducing it too far: pests, diseases, hostile weather, nutrient imbalances and so on.


In other industries, at least we have the chance to change things during the whole year – we can train our staff, we can get help and advice for ourselves and we can improve the marketing of our products to our customers.


So yes, of course we must do the best with what we’ve got, but if we want to really achieve something, we also need to grasp the opportunities that come our way as well.


So, is your glass half-full or half-empty?  I do remember an engineer offering a third option, “It’s not that the glass is half-full or half-empty – you’re missing the point; obviously the glass was just made too big in the first place.”

Comments are closed.