The Law of Compensation for Milennials
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Plant and Harvest: Compensation at Work

Have you ever studied agriculture? It’s really interesting.

A farmer works all season. He puts seeds in the ground. He nourishes them. Then, they spring up and flower into the specific plant.


Just think about that… Out of a seed comes a mighty plant capable of producing even more of its kind. Out of the seen comes the unseen.

At the end of the season, the farmer gets a mighty harvest due to his extremely hard work during the season. This is the law of nature. This is the law of compensation.

What is the Law of Compensation?

You put in…and you get out. This is the law. It’s also called “The Law of Cause and Effect” or “The Law of Sowing and Reaping”.

If you want to be extremely specific, this is my own personal formula for what compensation is.


Effort x Competency + Task = Compensation

  • Effort: The amount of labor you contribute to a task
  • Competency: How skilled you are in that task to contribute experiences, methods, etc.
  • Task: The task required, the nature of the task and the difficulty of the task.
  • Compensation: The end result of your labor

Your effort will be the physical or mental labor you exercise. This is usually in the form of “deliberate practice”.

Compentency… how good are you? Do you contribute a unique viewpoint or addition to that task or project? This is the force multiplier. Competency usually only comes from YEARS of deliberate practice.

The task… is this something someone with a middle school education and some training can complete or is it in the realm of astrophysics?… Or maybe somewhere in between (yeah, let’s choose that one)?
“We get paid for the value we contribute to the marketplace.” - Jim Rohn Click To Tweet

Finally, the compensation. This comes in the form of monetary rewards, the rewards of a job well done, etc.

Simple right? Right… Very simple. But NOT easy to implement. Not at all. It’s really hard to see the long term implications of things you do today.

It is shortsighted to think of compensation in only monetary terms. Compensation rules everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

It rules the relationships you have with your friends and significant others. It rules the way you’re treated at the workplace. It rules the way your health functions. Everything matters. There isn’t anything that doesn’t matter.

“Do extremely difficult work. That seems obvious, right? If you do something that’s valued but scarce because it’s difficult, you’re more likely to be in demand and to be compensated fairly for what you do.” – Seth Godin

Caveats to the Law

This “law” is so profound because it is the structure and format by which this universe was built on. THIS one. Maybe not the next one, but certainly the one we live in.

But… I do want to offer some “warnings” because this isn’t necessarily hard and fast. You don’t ALWAYS put in something and get it out (like a gumball machine). It’s a lot more subtle and tricky.

  1. Pay up, sucka

In this context, I’m talking about compensation in relation to success. In order to get to a place where you’ve “made it”, it typically requires a down payment.

It’s not like a credit card where you can swipe before you buy. It’s more like a “preorder”. You pay for it, then you get it.

You’ll need to be putting in the hours to receive the compensation you so desperately desire. It’s not just any hours, it’s the right kind of hours (deliberate practice remember?!?!?).


2. Don’t try to beat it

Sorry, you can’t “glitch” or “hack” your way to success. I kinda chuckle to myself when I see people try to outsmart nature. You’d be better off trying to extinguish a fire with gasoline. That’s how profound it is.

Sure, you can cheat and get short term gains…but usually anything that comes fast leaves just as fast.


3. You don’t only get what you “plant”, you get much more

Out of a seed comes a plant. What type of plant? Oak? Rose? Thistle? You don’t plant a corn seed and get apples. But if you do plant a thistle seed, you will get many thistles, which are a pain in the ass to remove from the garden. Keep that in mind.


4. You could lose it all

Imagine this scenario – the farmer works all season long. He nourishes his crops. He’s a good human being. He loves his family. He’s a good force in the community. His harvest is soon ready to dig up and he’ll make a massive killing. The week before he digs it up, a massive storm destroys everything.

This is what can happen to you. You could do everything right and STILL lose.

You’re probably saying to yourself: “Then why should I “plant” anything?” Because…


5. If you don’t plant, you won’t harvest

Simple as that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as those old folks say. You need to take a risk. Take a chance. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed.

I know very well how the Law of Compensation works first hand – because I have seen all sides of it. I have made an upfront payment, I’ve tried to beat it, I’ve lost, and I’ve missed out on windows of opportunity.

I now respect it and it’s omnipotence. I keep it in the back of my mind whenever I make a seemingly short term decision.

It is really a modern day fantasy thinking that we can get good results fast. The people of the past understood that you are always compensated in SOME form or fashion for the work you put in.

More importantly – do YOU understand it? This is VERY important for millennials to “get”. We are currently in the “planting” season. We’re seeding the ground, cultivating our crops for the harvest to come.

So… I’ve got three closing questions for you:

  • What are you planting?
  • What will you harvest?
  • Will you have a great harvest or a terrible one based on your current actions?

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