Ep 91: The little beanie that could

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Have you ever looked at a plant growing up through your driveway and thought, “Man, that’s impressive!” It is, but not for the reasons you think. Plants understand how to use the existing structure to get where they want to go.

You can do the same in your own life.

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Full transcript 👇


Ep 91: The little beanie that could

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

One of the first science lessons most of us get is about plants. Maybe you did the same experiment I did with a styrofoam cup, a bean seed, and a windowsill.

This experiment was more about hope than science.

It didn’t seem possible that a tiny bean seed would contain any kind of material that could overcome the heavy dirt laying over the top of it.

If you were impatient like me, you probably dug it up a few times because nothing was happening.

But about the time you think nothing’s happening, BOOM! A little green shoot pops up through the soil and away it goes.

We’re pretty impressed by that but at the same time we know that seeds do grow in dirt. So it’s in its natural environment.

But when a plant busts through concrete, well that’s a whole other thing. We’re pretty impressed by that.

The idea that a tiny plant can bust through concrete defies logic.

But here’s the thing.

The plant isn’t so much busting through, as much as finding its way through.

Concrete contains microscopic cracks. As our little plant deepens its root system, it uses sensors on the roots to sniff out these little cracks.

Once it finds a good one, it forces its way in. Our little beanie draws power from its growing root system, and over time actually displaces the concrete near this crack, breaking it apart and crumbling it in search of light above.

It doesn’t do this because it’s so tough. It finds sunshine because it found the path of least resistance.

We busy humans associate the path of least resistance with laziness. But it’s a pretty common principle in nature.

  • Water flows downhill pretty much all the time.
  • Predators prey on the weaker ones.
  • Even electricity looks for the easiest way.

There’s no glory for that plant in using all his energy to raise that concrete. It might be more impressive but his goal isn’t to bench press the driveway.

The goal for our little beanie is to find his way to where he can find sustenance so he can keep growing.

Why would he use all of his best energy to try to break through something ridiculously heavy when he could just find his way through an area that’s already open?

What can we learn from our little beanie?

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go.

The right way might be the easier way, and that’s okay. We’ve developed a kind of martyrdom about our modern lives. If it’s not a gladiator-style effort, somehow it’s not worth doing.

Your Herculean effort might give you a great story to tell, but it may very well take energy you could use for something else.

Sometimes it’s okay to push the easy button if it gets you where you want to go.

It’s okay to exploit the cracks.

It’s not cheating, it’s practical. And in some cases, it might be the only way to move at all.

The right crack can lead you to the top where the light shines. That’s where you need to be.

You can’t grow unless you have sustenance.

Stubbornly staying under a heavy rock on principle will only suffocate you. You might be able to say that you didn’t take the easy way out. But no will hear you because they’ll be up top high-fiving and growing with our beanie friend.

Finding your way through to the light is just the first step.

Once you get up to the top you might be tempted to think you’ve made it. Take a break and mark your progress, but just know that now is when the real growth can start.

Because you didn’t spend all your good energy trying to do the hardest thing, now you can focus on taking in all that the world has to offer.

You’ll still have to overcome some challenges up here but you already know you have what it takes.

Don’t be afraid to use what you already have to make your life work better.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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