Posted by: Doug Geiger | 2009/07/09

How’s your mulch? (pt. 2)


Previously, I drew a parallel between our ability to thrive in the future by preparing our minds and the mulch that a gardener prepares for new crops. In both cases intentionality is required to prepare for future growth. Part one talked about what needed to be added for good, rich mulch; namely a good supply of past experiences and fresh supply of new insights and education. Without the right blend of these ingredients great opportunities will have a difficult time establishing strong roots. Today I will cover what not to include in your mental/emotional mulch pile.

In the article I cited last week the author recommended avoiding “animal waste, meats, oils, dairy, diseased plants, weeds that have gone to seed, or plants treated with pesticides or herbicides.” I won’t over extend the metaphor by assigning a corollary to each of the above items to avoid; neither will I claim that this list applies to everyone, but here is what I try to keep out of my mulch pile:

  1. Stale competency: The biggest temptation is to “stick with what you know.” It feels good to reign supreme over one’s own little corner of the world. I love to learn, but I hate to feel incompetent. So, for me there is a push/pull when it comes to new ideas and skills. I have learned to push through the initial period of ignorance and dive in.
  2. Time-sinks: There is an opportunity cost to every click, minute and rabbit trail. Like weeds, we all have activities that will grow on our lives just about anywhere we are not diligent.
  3. Vague frustrations: I avoid news that is bad that I can do nothing about. This is not an easy task these days. I have to be selective in my news intake if I am to maintain the frame of mind I desire. I am not suggesting crawling in a hole, but I think some folks obsession with (bad) news borders on masochism, given how little we can do about what we are hearing. Maybe you are built differently, but I need to limit my intake.
  4. Plastic optimism: Optimism and positivity are good; however, they are no substitute for achievement and discipline. Sometimes, it is good to feel unsettled if it causes us to move forward or make tough decisions. I make it a point to surround myself with positive and productive realists. Positive affirmations are like calories–look at how they energize those who are moving and fatten those who are not.

What do you do to stay ready for future growth?


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