Watering our plants

Simplifying our lives by choosing to focus

Words by Carl Phillips

“The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh

You have a single glass of water but a room full of thirsty plants. What to do?

One choice could be to give every plant a tiny amount of water. Trying, in vain, to make a little go a long way. The end result, all plants suffer.

Another option could be to focus on one or two of the plants, maybe choosing our favorites, that give us the most joy. Making a little go further for some. These plants thrive, whilst the others get no love.

Both options involve a difficult compromise. But one choice involves giving up all.

The same happens in our lives.

The plants are our relationships, commitments, tasks, projects, and hobbies. The areas where we spend most of ourselves. These are the things we have said "yes" to. The more of these we try to service, the thinner we spread our efforts.

Equally, if we choose to concentrate purely on a handful of areas, we can dig deeper. And digging deeper is where the treasure is. It’s where we’ll find improvement and breakthroughs. It’s where we’ll build our most meaningful and lasting relationships. It’s where we can learn most about ourselves.

The choice is ours to make, we can water our plants carefully. Cultivating the ones that mean most to us by giving them our fullest attention.

Carl Phillips

Carl is a writer and runs Frictionless Living, a site about the pursuit of simplicity to help us focus on what matters most. It’s about finding clarity in distracted times.


Our Book, Inside Minimalism Vol. 2

A collection of 50 short and relatable essays on simple living by a small team of writers from different backgrounds, but who all share a deep appreciation for minimalism as a way of life. This book covers many topics such as slow and quiet living, meditative practices, curation, consumerism, and family. It is not a strict guide book or a rule book. Rather, it is a book we hope will inspire, motivate, and encourage you to take a slow and simplified approach to life.

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