Bottom Line: Growth Takes Work

A few days ago, I saw a beautiful sculpture on social media. It was a huge tree trunk, carved in the middle to reveal the tree’s “younger self” inside.

Yoo, Alice. “Young Tree Carved Inside Old Tree.” My Modern Met, 16 June 2016,

It was a striking representation of growth. Just like all great art is supposed to do, this piece got me thinking:

What did that tree go through to get as big and strong as it was in its prime? What storms did it survive? What animals lived in its branches? Who used its leaves for shade on hot days? How much nurturing did nature provide to see that tree to its full potential?

And aren’t we just like that tree?

We grow. We change. We stay the same, too. We weather storms, and hopefully, we provide for others in some way. We don’t always see growth as it’s happening, but at some point, we look back and realize that it did happen.

That being said, I can also tell you from truckloads of personal experience: our growth as human beings is not by chance.

It takes work.

Just like learning and sticking to the low-FODMAP diet takes work.

Just like completing a seven-week PTSD therapy program, and the numerous daily activities that program entailed, and the daily activities I’ll keep doing for the next ten-plus months to keep myself from relapsing all took and will take work.

Just like the one-hour-per-day, five-days-per-week exercises to get my body in the best health I can take work.

Just like everything else I’ve done to grow in the last thirteen months…it’s all taken work.

And you know what? I’ve also experienced indescribable joy because of that work.

There’s no simpler yet tougher statement than this: growth takes work, my friends. A better life isn’t just going to be handed to you.

Today, I ask: what do you want your tree to look like days, months, or years from now? And how are you working to make that happen?

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