Never Cut a Tree in Winter and Other Truths About Decisions

How to avoid giving up in the dark before dawn, the snowstorm before spring, the funk before the breakthrough.

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By Dixie Gillaspie

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. ~Robert H. Schuller

You know those moments when throwing up your hands, throwing in the towel, crawling under the covers, or crawling into a hole in the ground sounds like the best idea you’re capable of having? Me too. We all have them.

A friend of mine calls it “night mind,” when things seem too dark to believe that the coming dawn will make any difference at all. For me, a summer child who can take about one month of winter weather before I’m homesick for sunshine, I think of it as my “winter mind.” And I go looking for a door into summer.

I have two rules for my winter mind. I don’t beat myself up if I catch myself falling into it (although I used to, it didn’t make the world any warmer so I stopped.) And I don’t make major decisions (about dinner maybe, about my future, never.)

To keep from making those “negative decisions” when my mind is stuck in winter mode, I remind myself of these three truths:

Decisions made when I can only see winter will only serve to protect me from the cold, they won’t serve to bring sunshine into my world.

Decisions made when I can only see winter will only serve to help me see the path when it’s covered with snow, they won’t serve to let me smell the roses that will bloom in the fence rows in spring.

Decisions made when I can only see winter will only serve to dig me out of the snowbank, they won’t serve to let me spread my wings in the warm winds of summer.

So I will not cut the tree for fuel, no matter how cold the world might seem. I will set my mind on spring. And I will make decisions knowing spring will, in time, come again.

This story was previously published on The Good Men Project.

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