Garden Math: a simple formula for multiplying actions into opportunities
In corporate circles, there's an unspoken (yet often praised) understanding that to achieve high levels of success, one must have a singular focus, near to the point of obsession or addiction. Setting your sights on that end - that one goal, whatever it is - is the surest path to wealth and fame. Often, the prize comes at the cost of other areas of life that are not directly related to success in this one area. So we learn by example and we try to eliminate that which doesn't drive us further down this path. We become laser-locked on the finish line and ignore everything else.
While the effort is commendable, it comes with its fair share of road hazards. With all your eggs in one basket, you stand to lose it all. With only one seed planted, you're betting everything that that one seed with grow and yield fruit. The farm analogies are endless but I'll spare you. So when the floods come or the opportunity dries up, you're left stranded. If you're any good at math, you know the percentage of failure is much higher when only one seed is planted than if many seeds are planted. So what if, instead of planting only one seed, you took a bit of extra time to scatter a few more? It doesn't require much more effort than throwing one seed but with every handful, the chances of one seed sprouting grows higher and higher (horrible pun intended). Investors call it diversification.
I call it Garden Math.
These seeds? They're the little things that tend to fall to the wayside in the hustle bustle of an average human's life. Things like introducing yourself to the boss's boss. Or asking the waiter what sort of projects their working on in their spare time. Or writing a hand-written thank you note to someone who did you a favor. Or reading a book on a new subject. Or saying yes to a project that makes you nervous. Or starting that blog you always said you would. Or collaborating with a local artist. Or brainstorming with a friend. The list is endless. The key? Do something that benefits you in a way that isn't directly related to your career path. That's how you plant a new seed.
Garden Math plays by its own rules and one such rule is the 80/20 Rule which states that the 20% of the seeds that take root are responsible for 80% of the fruit. If you're planting two or three seeds, you're not giving the 80/20 rule a lot of room to work with. However, if you're planting seeds by the handfuls, you're vastly raising the odds that you'll strike gold. The best way to find opportunity is to plant it and watch it grow.
Abraham Lincoln put it another way when he said: