A few minute’s drive from just about any home in Olmsted County is the vast expanse of corn fields.

Corn is one crop in a hurry. No sooner do the snow sheets melt and the seeds are planted with the iron plow, tiny seedlings show their faces. The crop then gets taller every day, so in less than two months, the stalks tower over any human and ready to be harvested within another two to three months.

The harvesters arrive, and overnight, the field is cleared, and the ground turns brown and lifeless, except for the occasional birds that come looking for the fallen seeds.

While driving by the brown and then white fields (snow-covered), one might feel nothing is happening during the intercrop period. The calm on the surface, however, belies the significance of what is happening beneath. During this very important period, the field is resting and recovering its fertility. Without the requisite rest, the field will get tired and unproductive.

Many places have previously committed this mistake, of overtaxing the resource, and thereby causing permanent depletion. That is what produces ghost towns — with whaling, salmon fishing, mining.

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Look at life's quiet moments as the seeds of growth. Look at times when no progress seems to have happened as necessary pauses for growth to rekindle. You are being productive by choosing to be unproductive. Sleep and rest are essential to get fresh again.

This perspective will help you embrace the pauses, find meaning in them, and thus get energized instead of feeling discouraged by periods of no visible progress.

Further, growth is best not defined just by external accomplishments. True growth is becoming a more transparent vehicle of timeless values. As long as you are striving to become a better human being, you are growing.

Dr. Amit Sood answers questions about stress, resilience, happiness, relationships and related topics in his column. Email dearfriend@postbulletin.com.