Don’t be a Limp Tree
Have you ever heard of Biosphere 2 and its limp trees?
Biosphere 2 was a structure built to be an artificial closed ecological system in Oracle, Arizona USA. Constructed between 1987 and 1989, it was used to research and develop self-sustaining space-colonization technology. Researchers wanted to see if and how people could live and work in a completely sealed and closed biosphere. It explored the possible use of closed biospheres in space colonization, and also allowed the study and manipulation of a biosphere without harming Earth’s. The first sealed mission was from September 26, 1991 to September 26, 1993. Medical doctors and researchers entered and were sealed into Bio2 where they attempted to sustain themselves entirely off of the mini-earth that the engineers created.
If you ever have a chance to visit the facility, you will see that inside the glass domes are many of the Earth’s biomes. There is a marsh biome, a rainforest biome, a savannah grassland, a fog desert and, of course, areas for human habitation.
So, you may be asking, what does that have to do with me and my life? Well, as you can see from the picture, there was a lot of glass used and everything was totally sealed. Many times we try to do this in our lives. We try to create an environment where we are in control… where we are immune to the external forces of the world. This world we try to create is one where we want to be able to see out through the glass, and yet be protected from what may be on the other side.
Think about it… The inhabitants had their own food supply (gardens of vegetables, fruit trees) and water. The solid waste was recycled or used as fertilizer. They had rain forests and deserts, streams and pathways. It truly was as if these scientists inhabited their own little world. The planners and engineers of Bio2 had thought of everything… well, almost everything.
As time went on and the newly planted trees began to grow, a peculiar thing started to happen… The trees started to fall over. They just drooped and wouldn’t stand up straight. Fruit trees would bend so much that the fruit would touch the ground. It seemed so odd because fruit trees outside of the glass never bent over like that.
Why, then, in this near perfectly engineered environment, were the trees in Bio2 drooping? The researchers found that they had missed one very important part of life on earth. It’s understandable because you can’t see it, you can’t taste it. You can’t even capture it. What did they miss? The wind. The scientists realized that the reason that the trees were able to stand tall on the real earth is because the wind constantly caused the bark on the trees to strengthen. The wind challenged and exercised the trees causing them to grow strong.
All of us want to minimize challenges. I mean, who wants to change and be forced to stand up and battle against the winds that blow against us? Luckily, no one can force you to do it. You always have a choice!!
You can choose to avoid it, moan about it, gripe about it, but that will only leave you droopy and limp. You can, instead, choose to embrace these challenges. Stand up and face the wind head on. You may be pleasantly surprised at how invigorating the wind can be. Sure, it may take your breath away at first but when you lean in, you’ll see that you can withstand it. It will actually add value to your life by providing you with the challenges that make you stronger.
You will never escape problems, obstacles, upsets, mistakes and struggles. Therefore your choice – and it’s a choice you have every single day – is to hopelessly try to cope with them, settling for the misery or hopefully grow to overcome them, becoming a better you.
Here are a few tips to remember:
- Getting blown over isn’t “failure”, it’s feedback. Growth comes from getting a LOT of feedback.
- Happiness doesn’t come from avoiding trials and tribulations; it comes from overcoming them.
- You already have the resourcefulness within you. You have gifts, talents, and strengths that will reveal themselves once you call on them.
- The only thing keeping you from trying is the story that you are telling yourself. Learn to ask yourself different questions and tell yourself different stories. (Shameless plug alert: See the workshops and webinar below as these tools are designed to help you do just that.)
Let me encourage you to embrace your life’s challenges. Sure, at times it is going to seem like more than you can bear. You may feel disappointed, discouraged, frustrated, overwhelmed, maybe even hopeless. I hope you will try to take another perspective. Often times we get locked into looking at situations from only one angle. Ask for help. Ask others for their perspectives. It’s not about right and wrong perspectives. More perspectives equal more options and more choices.
Maybe the drooping trees in Biosphere 2 can serve as a reminder to you… that in order to stand tall, you need the strong winds to challenge you.
- Take a moment to let the wind blow through your hair (or at least over your skin if you are folliclely challenged.)
- Even if your mom told you that you’d get your arm ripped off… roll down your window and stick your hand out and glide it up and down through the wind.
Enjoy all the beauty and strength that your challenges bring to your life. You and those around you will be so much better because of your decision to do so.