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Everyone Should Not Miss These 15 Life Lessons Plants Teach Us

Everyone Should Not Miss These 15 Life Lessons Plants Teach Us

Plants have always provided fertile ground for humans to learn some of the most important lessons in life from. Living organisms who are driven to exist entirely by nature’s rules do not have to deal with the mixed blessing of ‘choice’ that humans are given on a daily basis. Instead, plants are driven to exist and survive by a choice-less instinctive force and it is from this force that we can learn these important life lessons.

1. Plants don’t set limits for how big they can grow, they grow as much as they can

Holding on to limiting beliefs is one of the greatest destroyers of human potential. The beliefs that we hold in our minds about what we can and cannot do, and what we are and are not capable of, place restrictions on what we will achieve in reality. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford.

Oak Life Lesson the greatest oak skinnymom pintrest
    Grow as much as you can

    2. Their Struggle for existence becomes their Strength

    Trees in particular demonstrate that struggle equals strength. When they find themselves out on their own, directly exposed to the wind and weather, they respond by growing thicker roots and trunks. This makes them stronger and more stable than those that are protected from the storms and harsh weather.

    the struggle Danielle Deneve pintrest
      Turn Your Struggles into Strength

      3. They Take only what they need to Thrive

      Plants don’t needlessly suck all the resources out of the soil in which they are planted. They take out only what they need to grow, survive and thrive.

      4. They turn to face the sun

      Despite everything else in nature that may be going on around them, when plants get down to their primary business of growth, they turn to face the life giving force of the sunshine. They soak up it’s rays and turn it into energy to help them become a better, healthier plants. They do not spend their time focused on the weeds and predators around them.

      Sunflower detail isolated on white background
        Choose to face the sunshine

         

        5. They adapt to the changing Seasons

        One of the greatest lessons we can learn from plants is their ability to adapt to each of the seasons. They have figured out that the seasons are going to come around every year each with their peculiar challenges. So in order for them to continue to thrive throughout their life, in spite of these challenges, they are prepared to adapt to accommodate them. This means

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        – Being frugal with resources during the harshness of winter
        – Being ready to go to work and take advantage of the opportunity for new growth in the spring
        – Making and storing food during the long hours of summer sunlight; and
        – Expecting and preparing for winter each autumn by shedding their leaves which would take up unnecessary resources

        the-Seasons
          Learn to adapt to the seasons of life

          6. They neutralize pollutants

          Having plants around your home can act as a natural air purifier. This is because the process they rely on for survival, photosynthesis, requires that they absorb carbon dioxide through pores in their leaves. However research has now shown that they are also useful for absorbing other common pollutants responsible for many modern respiratory ailments. Some of the plants found to be most useful in removing pollutants include Japanese Royal Ferns, Boston Ferns, English Ivy, Aloe Vera, and Peace Lilies*.

          Perhaps when life’s pollutants show up in our lives in the form of gossip, negativity and time wasting we can make a habit of, not necessarily absorbing it, but by responding in a way that neutralizes it’s existence.

          7. They don’t let their surrounding circumstances define them

          Plants are always on a mission. Their mission is to thrive and grow as much as they can regardless of where the seed of life has planted them. They will not let the fact that they happen to find themselves in a shady spot thwart their need for sunlight – they will climb the trunks of trees to reach the light. They will not accept the fact that their doesn’t appear to be enough water available for them to survive – they will grow their roots down deeper to find it or find a way to store it in their leaves until needed. They will not give in to predators, instead coming up with defenses that keep them protected and ensure their survival.

          The life lesson here is that we too should not let the circumstances in which we find ourselves be a reason for not doing our very best to strive to reach our potential.

          green shoot out of rocks Lori Helmick pintrest
            Your circumstances don’t determine your potential

            8. They are not afraid to shine

            Because of their focus on thriving to the best of their ability, plants do not suffer from the hang ups that humans do about how their growth, their blooming and their individuality shows up to other people. Their refreshing lack of self awareness means that for them, striving to be their best is an unrestrained absolute, a given that is a life lesson to all of us.

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            who am i to be brilliant

              9. They are focused on fulfilling their potential

              Closely related to the above life lesson, plants do not look to the tree, flower or green shoot to their left or to their right and think, “How am I doing in comparison to them?”  Instead, they focus on what they need to do to ensure their own survival, their own growth, what they need to do to flourish and thrive. And in so doing, they focus on fulfilling their own potential.

              wildfower pintrest
                Don’t be afraid to shine!

                10. They create something of value for others

                By their very existence, plants are constantly providing a benefit in one way or another for someone or something else. The endless benefits of plants would be difficult to list but nutrition, shelter, and the air purification that we looked at in life lesson 6 are good places to start.

                The calming beauty of plants, medicinal value, and their role in keeping the earths ecosystem in balance are other benefits that we can be grateful to plants for.

                In learning this life lesson we can be prompted to ask ourselves, “What value am I bringing to others and the world around me?”

                tall tree
                  Focus on Fulfilling YOUR Potential

                  11. They are content to just be themselves

                  Plants don’t require another plant’s – or anyone else’s for that matter – validation to be who they are. They are content with the purpose that they have been given and diligently go about fulfilling that purpose to the best of their ability.

                  While we as humans do have the challenge of first identifying what our purpose is, there are ways to go about this, and once identified, the life lesson is to be bold in our execution of that purpose, content in the knowledge that like a plant, we are blooming just as we should be.

                  Bloom quote
                    Be Yourself

                    12. They give out more value than they use up

                    As we saw in life lesson 10, plants create value for others. But interestingly, they do this even when it comes to resources that they themselves need to survive. Take oxygen. Plants produce approximately ten times more oxygen during the day than  they consume at night**. And they only use one percent of the water they absorb, releasing the rest back into the atmosphere as purified water.***

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                    With mounting concerns over the mass production of waste, and the dwindling levels of some of the earths natural resources, this is a life lesson that the human race should be paying close attention to.

                    13. They are Persistent

                    Plants are persistent. The best examples of this are the plants you try to get rid of. They just won’t go away right? They keep coming right back at you despite all attempts to thwart their growth. Laying a patio or some decking? Plants will find a way up through the gaps regardless of your efforts to prevent their presence.  Trying to keep your flower bed free from weeds? Those little guys will not go away. They will assert their right to thrive in the face of whatever onslaught the most avid gardener throws at them.

                    The life lesson? Don’t let other people’s attempts to put you off or put you down affect you. Keep getting back up to show them you mean business.

                    14. They need just a few simple things to be their best

                    Despite their massively valuable contributions to life on earth, plants don’t ask for much in return and have a very short simple list of things that they need in order to thrive:

                    – Sunlight
                    – Water
                    – Air
                    – Nutrients from the soil

                    In reality, humans need only a relatively simple list of things to thrive as well but we sometimes over-complicate things by adding endless ‘essentials’ that we ‘must have’ in order to be happy or successful. How could you simplify your list?

                    there is always a way kickstarter.com pintrest
                      If you are persistent there is always a way

                      15. They build up their defences

                      Plants have developed the ability to repel and defend against the host of herbivores that might seek to eat them. This includes

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                      – Reducing their digestibility if eaten.
                      – Producing toxins that kill or repel herbivores.
                      – Attracting the natural enemies of their would be attackers.^

                      The life lesson here is to be aware of where attacks against your own growth might come from. Be ready to defend against these attacks whilst protecting your right to thrive and fulfill your purpose.

                      One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that you are not attractive to the people or things that could limit your growth.

                      Sunflower Brandon Hirt Photo Etsy
                        Use what you have to become Your Best

                        *Livescience.com

                        **ScienceLine

                        ***http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_4_2_18t.htm

                        ^ Science Daily

                        Featured photo credit: smblake via pixabay.com

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                        Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                        How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                        How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                        Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                        I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                        I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                        Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                        How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                        Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                        Create a Positive Experience

                        Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                        When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                        What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                        Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                        As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                        Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                        Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                        Help Leadership Skills

                        It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                        Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                        As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                        Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                        If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                        Build Better Teams

                        Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                        In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                        If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                        When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                        Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                        How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                        There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                        Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                        1. Listen

                        Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                        Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                        People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                        Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                        Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                        2. Know Your Audience

                        Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                        Here is a good way to think about it:

                        Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                        You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                        3. Minimize

                        I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                        He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                        Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                        State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                        The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                        4. Over Communicate

                        So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                        What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                        Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                        Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                        Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                        There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                        5. Body Language

                        The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                        When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                        In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                        When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                        Conclusion

                        Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                        Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                        There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                        Now go communicate your way to success.

                        More Resources About Effective Communication

                        Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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