A Lesson in Life from Death Valley

In the winter of 2004-2005, 6 inches of rain fell on the dry earth of Death Valley in California. In a normal year it gets just 2 inches of rainfall, not enough for anything to grow let alone flourish.

But the heavy rain that winter made something extraordinary happen that saw geologists, botanists, photographers and tourists flock to the normally dead valley in their droves.

Life sprung

It was there all the time, just under the hard surface of scorched earth and rock. It just needed the right conditions to flourish.

Same goes for you.

Growth is impossible when the conditions are wrong

If you find yourself in a place where there’s no growth you’ll become hard and burnt like the valley floor. You’ll shrink from your environment. You’ll mistrust people, especially yourself. You’ll prioritise self-protection and withdraw from the world, because it’s too hard out there and there’s nothing to engage with.

You’ll diminish.

Your environment has a huge impact on your ability to engage and put your dent in the universe. I learned this the hard way, having spent too long in the wrong environment and completely losing myself as a result. It sure wasn’t pretty.

Grow or diminish – it’s your choice

Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Look around you – your friends, home, work, hobbies, health, relationships, finance, spirituality, nature, etc. Get a feel for how your whole environment is; everything you touch in any given day.
  2. What one thing can you change – either by adding, tuning or removing something in the environment directly or by changing a thought you have about something in your environment – that will help your environment feel more alive? What would make it easier for growth to happen or life to spring?
  3. Make a commitment, right now, to do that one thing.

Don’t underestimate the power your environment has on you, as well as your ability to create an environment that’s congruent with your growth – there’s an extraordinary bond there that can transform your experience.

As proved in Death Valley, life wants to spring; it wants to put its face to the sun.

What change are you making?

  • You’re absolutely right and you’ve addressed this before, I think in one of the coaching calls as well as in the rule book (wrong name for it, sorry, in a rush). Something about how we’ll never know if it’s the right choice until we’ve chosen it.

    Thank you.

  • I struggle with this one. I’ve known for some time that I need to change things up in order to get past this stagnation, and what seems to resonate with me most is the idea of moving away from the city I’ve lived in for the last 18+ years. I picture a fresh start in a new place, with eyes and heart wide open. But then I worry that somehow it’s just “running away”….and I think of the saying, “wherever you go, there you are.” Is there a way to know if it’s “real”?

    I’m happiest when traveling the world..but there again, I don’t know if that’s because I really am just meant to be a world traveler, or if it’s because it serves as some form of escape from everyday humdrum life and the loneliness that generally plagues me (I never feel lonely when I’m traveling, even though I travel solo).

    How do we know if the growth conditions we’re drawn to are real or imagined?

    • You’re asking if the growth conditions you’re attracted to are “real” or if it’s perhaps just “the grass is greener”?

      I’m writing something that will help that kind of insight take shape, but what if it came down to simply trying it? I think that if you’re attracted to something and it feels like it might really be something, there’s value in simply giving it a shot without being certain in it.

      What do you think?

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