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A Lesson from Trees: Determination

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Trees have the innate ability to work around challenges. For instance, if someone erects a concrete wall next to a tree, the tree trunk and the branches of the tree will grow around it. In rocky ground, the roots of trees will always find their paths to water. When the roots hit rocks in the ground, they go around them to reach water. Trees have an inherent drive to find what they need, and they are able to work around obstacles. Unless extreme restrictions are placed on the growth of the tree, it will expand and grow.

People also have the ingrained drive to grow, though it must be consciously nurtured. Our job as parents and educators is to facilitate the growth — outward and upward growth — of our children (and not to clip their wings). Challenges are actually healthy for human growth. Children need to be challenged in their educations in order to bring out the best in them. The ability to work around and through obstacles is a marker of successful adults, far more than intelligence or skills.

An olive does not produce oil until you press it. Things like pressure, deadlines, and competition help people to grow. If you don’t have the pressure, you will never experience true growth. A person who is not challenged has no need to dig deeper — he will settle for mediocrity. Challenge brings out the deepest strengths inside of a person.

 


Go deeper into this subject: Your Guide to Personal Freedom: Counting the Omer Week Four | Sheer Determination | The Only Way Out Is Through | Are You Driven?

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