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“Grow Where You’re Planted” (and other bullshit!)

Tree on a rock pillar – Lake Superior coast (MI)

We seem to be a society and a world of cliche, hyperbole and all-around bullshit!

We are so afraid of ourselves and of our potential for love that we seek to protect ourselves in a world of absolutes.  We confine our brothers and sisters behind walls of black and white.  We imprison ourselves behind bars of limited potential.

But this need not be.

Plant Yourself!

You have probably heard the cliche which says: Grow where you are planted.

That’s authentic horse-caca!

Essentially, “they” (whoever they are) are saying settle for what life hands you and make the best of your situation.

I get the spirit of the phrase. I know that it’s really about changing your focus and attitude. I get it.

But here’s my deal…how ’bout you and I plant ourselves wherever the hell we want and maximize our potential there.

Take a look at this picture from my recent trip up north.

This was taken at the edge of Lake Superior in Michigan. This tree stands atop a huge rocky outcropping, entirely exposed.

Why Conventional Wisdom Can Take a Flying Leap

Conventional wisdom says that it shouldn’t grow there!  There’s not enough soil for a tree that big.

Fortunately, nature doesn’t heed “conventional wisdom.”   The tree didn’t say, “well, these circumstances aren’t perfect for a tree my size to grow, so I guess I’d better move!”

It didn’t say, “I’ll just grow as much as I can here and make the best of a precarious situation.”

The tree’s roots grew along a rocky “bridge” to where it could find better soil and nutrients to feed its growth.

The rock formation has since collapsed beneath the roots, but they stand, high above the ground reaching to the soil on the other side of the chasm and nurturing the tree exactly where it planted itself.

Here’s the Lesson…

Your potential is not determined by the place you’re planted. It is not determined by your status or station.

Your potential is decided by your will and determination.  Just because a tree like you has never grown where you are doesn’t mean it is impossible.

So put down your roots.  If necessary, span the bridge from where you are to the resources you need.  Then, even if the support system beneath you collapses, you’ll be planted strong and stable as a testament to your own strength.

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Note: This post is part of the 31-post Ultimate Blog Challenge. During the month of July, 2012, I will be posting 31 times. Since this is a lot of posts over a short period of time, I prepared a special page where you can catch any you may have missed.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • I love what you did with this— but, in actuality, that tree proved conventional wisdom (as you so termed it). It grew where it WAS planted…
    As such, my point is- grow where you think you can do best, but stop lamenting where that situation may be and make the best of any situation in which you find yourself. After all, that tree did!

    • Thanks, Roy. I realize now that the analogy is a bit flawed. It did grow where it was planted…it just found a way to do it.

      You articulated it in 2 sentences exactly what I meant to say! 🙂 That’s what it is about. Spend your energy working around your circumstances rather than whining about them. 🙂 Great point. Thanks for swinging in.

  • Benecia Ponder

    I agree, Steve! If I followed “conventional wisdom” I would have let a severe visual impairment stop me from going to law school, passing hte bar, and then becoming a business coach. You may not be able to control what happens to you in life but you can control how you react to what happens. It burns me up when people use circumstnces as an excuse for mediocrity.

    • This inspires me, Benecia! You are absolutely right when you say that we have absolute control over how we react to our situation. That ALWAYS lies within our power. You’re living proof of that truth. Shine, on my friend!

  • Peggy

    I totally agree, Steve….

    I encounter the same set of issues with the conventional wisdom regarding creation of a solid financial strategy. Conventional wisdom will make you part of the 99% who will never achieve a life of Abundance….

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself, Peggy. Especially in the world of finances, the “structure” is created and founded on fear and lack. An abundant mind must break through that and learn to use the system to express the abundance that fills our universe.

  • Michelle S. Hawkins

    Truth. To often we kowtow to conventional when it should read, “We’ll tell you where your place is”. Not acceptable! You have to make the decision that you are the master of your fate, the captain of your destiny. If your not then you have failed be fore you can start.

    • Awesome insight, Michelle. Thank you for sharing it. So many people around us want to tell us where our place is…but only our soul can really tell us. Thank you for stopping by the site.

  • Athena Brady

    Great post Steve, will look forward to the rest.

    • Thanks, Athena! So glad you stopped by. Excited to connect here and on Twitter. Have a great weekend.

  • Jackie

    So true. I actually addressed this in my blog today too. Kinda: The difference between that tree and you is that, as a human, you have free will and the ability to exercise it. The tree can’t pull up its roots and head for sunnier ground. But you can. You are self-determining and have the ability to choose your direction in life and seek out what you need to become your very best self.
    But I said that trees were stuck with what they got and implied that they were limited in what they could accomplish in growth. You proved me wrong!
    Great post Steve

    • That’s a great point, Jackie. It is important to recognize the boundaries of the analogy…and also to recognize that as humans we’re unlimited in our potential. It was neat to see this tree that was really a neat example high above the water of overcoming “rough” terrain.

      Just made me think “if that tree can grow up there, I can do what I need to do!”