Plants do a great job of thriving in all sorts of environments, but the secret is not in the plant, it’s in the soil. In the same way, the secret to a thriving life is in the soil we plant our lives in.
1. Plants Need Soil
Plants don’t possess life in themselves. They draw their life from the soil. Soil or dirt seems pretty mundane and it’s not worth much, and yet it is their lifeline, their source, and their home. When you look at a plant, you might notice its leaves, its branches or its fruit, but don’t be fooled – the secret is in the soil. In fact, the healthier the soil, the healthier the plant!
We have soil too – work, home and social environments. They are not limited though to a physical place; they are also the contexts in which we exist– interests, passions, values and beliefs. What we read and watch is soil. Anything that feeds us is soil.
2. Plants Need To Be… Planted.
Imagine an uprooted plant. It’s deceiving because when uprooted from soil, the plant is still green, but how long will it stay green? Maybe a week? It must be replanted quickly in soil in order to survive, let alone thrive.
Planting ourselves in the soil of a career, a community, a passion or a place allows us to thrive. This is contrary to the current popularity of nomadic living which promotes independence and mobility. The ‘mobile entrepreneur’ seems to be the goal of many, but repeatedly ripping up roots is damaging. We can’t develop deep roots unless we stay planted.
3. Plants Need Deep Roots
Being planted allows roots to mature and grow deep; the toughest plants are those with an established root system. Even when the outside browns and withers, the root system stays active, sustaining it through the dry season.
Some people’s passions, values and beliefs change more than the weather…what a shaky foundation to build a life on! Living a life of conviction is like having a strong, healthy root system that feeds us on the inside even when our outside world is going backwards.
Sadly, most people don’t focus on root development. They value mobility and trends more than established roots. They’re like pot plants.
4. Pot Plants are Limited
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. -Albert Einstein
Pots provide a movable soil base. They allow plants to survive in unnatural places but they also severely limit a plant’s potential. As the roots grow to the edge of the pot, plant growth slows. Some plants even die as they deplete the available nutrients and break through the pot’s walls.
When the soil around us is depleted, it might be because we’ve outgrown our pot. It may be time to look for a bigger pot, or better yet, a garden bed to plant in. Changing careers or social circles is not always a bad thing – sometimes it’s desperately needed. We are all on a journey of finding the soil that we should sow our lives into.
5. Soil Needs Plants
What would a garden be without any plants? A soil can be rich and abundant with nutrients ready to feed a plant, a shrub or even a tree, but it needs something to be planted there, otherwise it’s just dirt.
The soils that we choose to be planted in are not just for our benefit, they are to showcase our uniqueness in that place. We’ve all got books to write, businesses to build, children to raise and skills to apply. Moreover, there are other people waiting for out input and encouragement.
6. Plants Need Other Plants
Many plants live in a symbiotic relationship. This is most obvious in rainforest environments where the canopy formed by large trees shelters and creates a unique ecosystem below for other plants to thrive in. Such biodiversity and density is only possible because of the symbiotic environment.
In the same way you will find that any soil you choose is not barren, there are already others planted there. Some may have been there many decades and provide shade for you. Others may be fresh saplings that you can lead and cover. Whatever the case, your chances of survival are better with others by your side, and your chances of thriving skyrocket when you rely on the experience of those around you.
7. A Plant’s Future is in the Soil
Soil that feeds you garbage or simply not enough nutrients, will stunt your life.
Imagine a fresh and vibrant pot plant about to be planted in a sick garden bed. It’s obvious, even before planting, what that plant’s future will be.
Soil that feeds you garbage or simply not enough nutrients, will stunt your life. That’s why ‘bad company corrupts good character’ and ‘he who walks with the wise will be wise but a companion of fools suffers harm’.
Conversely, soil that is deep and nourishes you will sustain and grow you beyond your expectations. You will always become like the soil that you are planted in, so choose your future by choosing your soil.