We are inspired by stories of people who overcome huge adversity and survive, more so when they go on to great achievements. These examples help us to motivate ourselves and forget our own troubles.
I wrote about an outstanding example of survival and achievement, Lucinda Yates, in a post on Monday.
Part of it is about never giving up no matter how bad the situation and how hopeless the future looks. Part of it is about seeing light at the end of the tunnel and staying open to the possibility that opportunities spring from the most unusual sources.
Never giving up sometimes has to be tempered with recognising the inevitability that a change is required. The old saying “No good flogging a dead horse” comes to mind.
We should never give up on life itself, never give up on the knowledge that we have the power to change our situation, and achieve great things even without any obvious resources or apparent opportunities.
The photo on the left was taken a couple of weeks ago just after Spring arrived. Last year in late fall I was cutting down dead trees in our wood lot to provide wood for our very hungry furnace. I found a big willow tree that had been blown down by the wind on the edge of a swamp in the bush. Willow is not the best wood for providing heat, but I was not going to let that much wood close to home go to waste.
Fortunately the lack of snow last year made it fairly easy for me to haul the tree out of the bush and up to the yard. I sawed up some of the smaller branches and left the bigger branches and trunk to work on this year. The wood was still too wet to burn and I did not need it last winter.
When I was clearing up the assorted bits of wood and logs ready to start more sawing and splitting, I noticed that with the warmer Spring weather, some of the short sections of willow branches that I had cut months ago were starting to sprout new shoots. That is an example in the photo of a piece about 12″ long with 2 green shoots.
That piece was not lying on the ground, it was on a pile of cut pieces. It had absolutely no chance of absorbing moisture or nutrients from the ground. It had no possibility of long-term survival, but it had not given up hope. It had recognised the warmer weather and increased day length as an opportunity to survive and grow, so it did.
I am not an expert on willow trees, I don’t know if that sprouting log would develop into a tree if I put it in wet soil. Back in Africa, there were certain trees that if cut for fence poles and put in the ground when it was wet at the right time of year would grow. Mulberry trees were one of the easiest to grow from cuttings. I know many shrubs grow from cuttings here in North America, why not willow trees?
What lessons can we take from that willow log?
It just shows that on the important stuff like life itself, believing that we can change our situation, that there is a brighter future for us, that there will be opportunities that will reveal themselves in as yet unknown ways, we should never ever give up as long as we have breath in our bodies.
But we should also not blindly pursue an unworkable plan, the fastest car in the world will not get us to our destination if we are on the wrong road.
We need the right strategy and then the tactics to implement that strategy, not let tempting tactical toys take us down the wrong track. Jumping from one bright idea to the next without committing ourselves fully to anything is as bad as giving up.
Where do you stand? Have you given up on anything too early? Do you jump from one opportunity to the next or do you commit yourself for the long haul, dig in and never give up? It’s worth thinking about. Share your thoughts in a comment.
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Wishing you success in all your endeavours.