Gardening is a great metaphor for our lives. That's probably why I secretly love it.
You can't grow and maintain a healthy garden overnight. Whether it's one plant, or one thousand plants, it takes consistent love, care, and attention for things to thrive.
Take my Night-blooming Jasmines, for example. On three different occasions (once in New England, and twice in Texas), I've successfully raised three baby Jasmine plants to thriving adults. I didn't do this because I'm special or have a green thumb, but simply because I care, and I channel that care through consistent action.
Does saying good morning to my plants every single day help? I'd like to think it does. But not because of some mystical reasons. Not because "God's watching." But rather, by taking the time to flip open the shades and acknowledge their existence every day, I'm also observing their current state. I'm seeing if they need more water, less water, more sun, less sun. I'm simply taking care of them. Every, single day.
Is it magic? Or is it something else, something much simpler?
You can inherit a bountiful garden overnight, just like you can inherit ten million dollars overnight. But what about maintaining it? What about keeping it alive? What about growing it?
Knowing how to take care of something is much different than simply having it. That's why most lottery winners blow their money and end up poorer, and more unhappy than before they won. They neglect what's important.
So what is important, then?
Keeping your plants alive and healthy is a lot like keeping your relationship alive and healthy.
Sure there's luck. Sure there's factors out of our control. But at the end of the day, all that really matters is consistent love, effort, and a willingness to get through difficult times together.
I'm celebrating my two year anniversary with my amazing girlfriend, and looking back, we've had our fair share of difficult times. But we've both come to realize that those difficulties are not obstacles, but rather opportunities for our growth, opportunities to work through challenges together, only to come out stronger on the other side.
Challenges are like weights for our relationship. They hurt in the moment, but if we move through them with intention, we can only come out stronger.
Storms might come in and wipe out half of our garden. But neither we, nor our garden, are defined by a single storm that passes through.
Instead, we're defined by the hours we spend every single day, tending to the garden, mending broken plants, nursing weak ones back to health, and making sure the strong ones maintain their strength.
There's no one event that says it all, but rather many tiny events, spread across time.
So what's the secret to keeping plants alive and healthy?
Some might say science. Some might say a green thumb. But I've found it's none of that. It's simply daily care, attention, and constant learning. If we translate that to life, it's love, consistency, and a willingness to keep improving.
There's really no magic beyond that. In a way, that is the magic.
We often look for formulas and shortcuts to get things we think will make us feel good. Shortcuts to losing weight, to getting ahead in our jobs, to having the perfect relationship.
Shortcuts are fine, and there's nothing wrong with them when they supplement a more foundational, consistent approach. But much like nutritional supplements, they are intended to be just that - supplementary to what you're already doing - not the main course.
There's no substitute for spending hours in the garden, every single day.
I've always said that with an applied willingness over time, anyone can achieve anything. You must be willing. You must apply that willingness through action. And you must do that over time.
I wish we would stop looking for magic formulas.
Your chase for the shortcut is preventing you from getting the very things you want.
Instead, acknowledge that to achieve great results, whether it's a thriving garden, an unshakeable relationship, or a deep sense of unwavering inner peace, you need to devote simple, consistent care, love, and attention, with a willingness to improve your approach as you go.
Nothing can beat that. Not even the most magical pill on Earth.
Embrace simplicity. Embrace the foundation. Embrace what's in front of you.
Live with substance!