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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Secret to Having a Green Thumb and a Good Life

When I was starting with gardening, I had the headstrong opinion that I would choose where to plant what and that the plants just had to give in. Little did I know about gardening and being able to enjoy the bounty of nature. Once I got it, I saw how I had been sabotaging myself in my own life in the same way....

Funny, how sometimes my ideas are very specific and I am convinced that everything else has to abide by them. The results are often meager and so-so. But I would ask myself how that was possible. After all, I did everything I could and invested a lot of energy. Let´s take the example of my garden. It has a specific sun exposure, the soil has a certain consistency, and on top of things, I was determined to save water and "wean" the plants from needing too much water. I had specific ideas about which plants to plant where and was heading towards this rigid plan. After investing a lot of time and energy, the results were not thrilling. It took me a few growing circles until I finally got it and believed it. A plant has very simple needs: right sun exposure, soil composition/fertilizer and right watering cycle. Once that is in place, the plant thrives and is at its own very best: lush, healthy, beautiful. It is dis-ease resistant (because it is at ease), wards off pests and has many flowers and fruits or vegetables. All it takes is to be willing to bow to the simple needs of the plant, and the rewards are manyfold.

Now, this does not seem to be all too surprising, but at the same time it is the secret of people who are said to have a "green thumb". Anybody who is interested and willing can have a green thumb, it is nothing complex or secret or too hard to reach.

The same goes with goals in life. Usually, a goal has very simple requirements. Once the single steps are isolated and determined, all it takes is commitment and focus. With this, practically any goal is achievable, given that the goal makes sense (e.g. someone who is 5 ft 4 and weighs 135 lbs is not a good candidate for american football). The commitment to achieving a goal in life guarantees that there is a willingness to accept the various steps that it takes in order to get there. It just does not do it to keep talking about a certain goal and not showing the actions that would make it come true. It is like planting a sun loving plant in the shade and continuously complaining about its poor growth and ill health.

This is such a simple but highly overlooked fact. It amazes me how often I hear someone talk about exactly this contradiction: wanting A while doing B and being very upset about not getting A. Working with what you got is a secret of success. And, by the way, the grass is not greener on the other side. From farther away it just appears to be greener....

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