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                                          Cutting Branches…

Good evening dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. What do you do when you have too many ideas & not enough time? Or similarly, what about when you have too many tasks & not enough energy?

As a business owner, I feel like I have been battling this issue for a while. There is always another opportunity to chase or a new product idea which sounds exciting. For a long time, I felt guilty about ignoring good ideas to come my way & so I kept adding more to my to-do list.

However, whilst reading an article recently by James Clear, I learned about a new strategy for dealing with the issue of having too many ideas & projects.

It all comes down to treating your life like a rose bush. Let me explain 

Ideas are Like Rose Buds. As a rose bush grows it creates more buds than it can sustain. If you talk to an experienced gardener, they will tell you rose bushes need to be pruned to bring out the best in both their appearance & their performance.

You see, a rose bush is not like a tree. It cannot grow wider & taller each year. And this means if you never trim away some of the buds, then the bush will eventually exhaust itself & die. There are only so many resources to go around. And if you really want a rose bush to flourish, then it needs to be trimmed down not just once, but each year. [1]

Ideas are like rose bushes: they need to be consistently pruned & trimmed down. And just like a rose bush, pruning away ideas ~ even if they have potential ~ allows the remaining ideas to fully blossom.

Just like the rose bush, we face constraints in our lives. We have a limited amount of energy & willpower to apply each day. It is natural for new ideas & projects to come into our life ~ just like it is natural for a rose bush to add new buds. However, we have to prune things away before we exhaust ourselves. [2]

In other words: new growth is natural & it is normal for tasks & ideas to creep into your life, but full growth & optimal living requires pruning. We All Need to Cut Good Branches

I like the rose bush analogy because it brings up something often lost in most conversations about productivity & simplicity: if you want to reach your full potential, you have to cut out ideas & tasks which can be good, but not great.

In my experience, this is really hard to do.

  1. If you are building a business, maybe you have 3 profitable product lines. Your business might grow by 5x if you focus on all three, but which product line will grow by 500x if you put all of your energy into it?
  2. If you are training in the gym, there are all sorts of exercises which could make you stronger. But which two or three exercises will build a foundation of strength better than anything else?
  3. If you're thinking about the relationships in your life, there are dozens of people you are connected to in some way. But which people bring energy into your life & which ones suck energy out of it?
Most rose buds could grow if they are given the chance. In other words, most buds are like a good idea: they have potential. But in order for the entire bush to flourish & live a healthy life, you have to choose the ones with the most potential & cut the rest.

The Bottom Line: Gardener & writer Elizabeth Roth says, “Roses left unpruned can become a tangled mess of old & new canes all competing for air & light.” [3]

We can say the same thing about our lives. A life left unpruned can become a twisted knot of ideas, tasks, & projects competing for your limited time & resources. If you do not prune some of the branches from your life, the important ones will never flourish.

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next week.
[1] Travis Dommert first read about the rose bud analogy in the book Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud. I have not read the book, but I added this note to make sure Dr. Cloud gets credit for originally developing the idea.

Kenn Butler
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