Recently I popped down to our vegetable patch to spend a couple of minutes tending the tomatoes and picking some greens for a salad for lunch the next day. You can imagine my surprise when I got down there and instead of the nice neat garden I was expecting, I discovered a jungle. Tomatoes were growing everywhere, cucumbers were hiding along the back wall going soft and the basil had escaped the bed and was heading across to visit the lettuce. It took hours to tame the place.
What I thought I would see….
What I actually saw!
How did it happen?
What I had thought would be a quick, simple task turned into a mammoth effort. I did spend a couple of minutes wondering how it had grown so quickly but when I thought about it properly, I realised that it had been a while since I had been down there and done anything. All I had been doing was popping in to grab a couple of things and then heading straight out again without really noticing anything else.
Does this happen to you?
How often have things crept up on you and you wondered how on Earth it happened? One day you are a size 10, the next you are a 14. One day the house is spotless, the next you are struggling to see the floor of the lounge room. One day the garden is beautifully mulched, the next it’s covered in weeds. It’s as if you blinked and everything changed.
Of course we all know that things don’t happen that quickly. In reality they often happen very slowly and that’s what causes the problem. It’s a small process of one little thing here, another little thing there until the result is impossible to ignore and harder to resolve. If these changes were large and happened suddenly, it would be much easier to spot them and do something about it straight away.
We don’t notice the extra weight we are putting on until we can no longer fit into our jeans. We don’t notice the things being left on the floor until we can’t walk into the room. We don’t notice the weeds until that’s all we can see.
Have you ever heard the story about boiling a frog? The story goes that if you put a frog into hot water it will jump out straight away but if you put a frog into cold water and slowly heat it up, it will stay in there until it cooks. It’s as if the frog doesn’t notice what is happening until it’s too late to do anything about it. The same thing happens to us.
What can we do about it?
What we can do is use this information to our advantage. We can learn to do tiny little things each day that in themselves take barely any time but over the course of days, weeks and months can make a huge difference to the situation.
Something I do every time I go outside is to pull out a couple of weeds from the garden. I’m not a fan of gardening and the thought of spending hours outside pulling out weeds and setting things right is just not fun for me. What I can do though is pull out a couple of the weeds I see when I head out for my morning walk each day. It takes hardly any effort and barely any time but you would be surprised how quickly this will make a difference.
You can do the same thing in almost any area of your life. Begin to do a couple of little things in areas where you want to see a big change and see where they take you.