I’ve been thinking a lot about trees lately. Maybe it has something to do with the lumber shortage in North America, and the conflicts over harvesting old-growth trees in Canada. Or maybe it’s because of the fruit tree I gave my wife for our recent anniversary. Who knows, maybe it has something to do with the borderline apocalyptic pollen season we’ve only recently (and barely) survived. Could be all of it.
At any rate, my brain meat is thinking a lot of tree thoughts. And one of them is about you.
You have a lot in common with trees
because you’re constantly getting cut down and you’ve been making it harder for me to breathe because of how you both grow.
Your personal growth works a lot like the growth of a tree, one of the hardiest and most majestic forms of life on Earth. It needs many of the same things, its fruits are just as precious, and its resilience is second to none.
Here are a few small things you can do to help your tree of personal growth blossom and flourish.
Plant the Seeds Early
Time is everything, and everything is time. Trees know this as well as anyone.
The tremendous strength and resilience of trees is directly linked to their long life spans. It is not how a tree begins, but what it becomes over years and years of growth that is truly magnificent.
There are trees alive today that are estimated to be over 5,000 years old. Can you imagine?
In 3000 BCE, at the end of the freaking stone age, a tree was born. Three millennia later, Julius Caesar planted the seeds of what would become the Roman Empire. Fast forward another 2,000 years, and that tree is still around today! Can’t say the same for the Roman Empire. It boggles the mind how much that tree has seen, endured, and become in all that time.
We soft, flimsy humans don’t tend to get 5,000 years, and we don’t need that many. The life that we reap 5, 10, 25 years from now is still a direct result of what we sow today.
And the earlier we start, the better.
When it comes to the life you want to live “someday,” don’t wait until you’re ready. Start now. Plant the seeds today, and watch as they grow and grow, driven by the relentless power of time.
Give Your Tree What It Needs
Trees have, quite clearly, done a marvelous job of surviving all on their own. But it is remarkable what can happen with just a bit of intervention in their favor. The better a tree is cared for, the mightier it will become.
Trees need sun, water, and food. Not every tree needs the same amount or sort of sun, water, or food. And it’s very similar when it comes to your goals.
Positive energy, constant learning, and a healthy mindset.
Focus, persistence, and an openness to new ideas.
These are the things that feed your success, give it life, and allow it to grow. Find the sun to shine down on your goals and give them a reason to reach higher and higher. Give them enough water, and good, healthy soil.
Pay attention to what your unique tree needs, and then give it those things. Don’t let it fall to neglect, but don’t smother it either. Find the approach that works for you.
Give your journey the same amount of tailored love and attention my mother-in-law gives her garden, and the tree of your life will do nothing but thrive.
Trim the Branches
Not every step in personal growth, nor in biological growth, is a perfect step forward. Sometimes there are dead ends, or branches that were once full of life and are now holding us back. It’s okay, essential even, to trim these branches from time to time.
More is not always better. Sometimes less is the answer.
Some leaves and branches of a tree are bound to wither. It is not always for us to force vitality back into them. Every organism must accept trade-offs for survival, and for a tree, one of those trade-offs is letting go of dead ends to create new life. Trim the branches. For the tree to prosper, its food and energy must be free to go to the healthy parts that still need it.
The quest for personal growth and success has its own share of decaying leaves, and branches that are no longer helping the organism to thrive. Don’t be afraid to trim the branches of your life. Remove what’s just weighing you down so that you can feed what lifts you up.
Now go on, get out there! Share your delightful fruits and give life to those around you. Stretch yourself high and reach up to find the sun. Blossom in the full color of your bright and brilliant self. Get out there and grow, you beautiful, beautiful tree-person!