Common things in People and Plants

I don’t know much  about the plants, but love the idea that a small system comprised of not much more than water, soil, and a few plants can sustain itself. This is exactly what happened to my self .Now the original ecosystem is down to just one succulent. There’s no more moss, and the smaller plants are gone—all at the expense of that one greedy succulent.

The ironic part is that this plant won’t make it either—it can’t continue to grow and thrive without an ecosystem to sustain it in the long-run.

I’d argue that this is true for people, too. Take what Gandhi considers to be the five social sins:

  1. Wealth without work;
  2. Knowledge without character
  3. Science without humanity;
  4. Religion without sacrifice;
  5. Politics without principle.

All seven sins play to this same basic idea: we don’t live in a closed ecosystem. We throw the entire system off-balance when we don’t account for the fact that our actions affect the people and the world around us.

One off-handed comment we make as a joke can sit with someone for years.One world leader can, with the press of a button, wipe out a significant portion of the map. Any person who doesn’t consider others when making decisions will negatively impact an entire ecosystem. This is even more true for those we trust with greater power, including the leaders we hire and elect.

One of the most illuminating productivity experiments I conducted during my year of productivity was living in total isolation for 10 days. My goal was to see the productivity impact of not being surrounded by people. Not only were my productivity and mood totally depressed this week, but the experiment showed me something essential: surrounding ourselves with other people is not just important to stay engaged and motivated with our work.

People are the reason we strive to become more productive in the first place.

If you woke up in the morning and found you were the only person left on Earth, it wouldn’t matter how productive you were.

Your actions, words, and decisions affect others—perhaps more than you think. When in doubt, zoom out, and consider the broader ecosystem you live and work in. Don’t become the solo succulent.

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