Imagine a beautiful garden. Every day the owner spends a little time watering it, trimming the leaves and uprooting the weeds. By doing so, the garden remains beautiful and flourishes. But after a while, the owner neglects the garden. At first, everything looks fine, but in a short while, the garden begins to be overtaken by weeds. Fed up by the weeds, the owner decides to take action. The owner uproots the weeds and plants new flowers. The garden that became an eyesore is once again beautiful.
Each area of our lives is like a garden. As long as we manage it, it remains beautiful. But neglecting it causes it to breakdown. This idea can be narrowed down into a simple principle: What You Don’t Manage, You Will Lose. Let’s look at how this principle applies to our lives.
The Weeds Grow By Default
Before we look at how the principle of “What You Don’t Manage You Will Lose” applies to our lives, I want to explain the significance of weeds in the garden example. The weeds take over when the maintenance of the garden is neglected. This is significant because it represents the reality that in our lives things will always move in a particular direction unless we do something about it. It is like a boat out at sea. Unless something is pushing the boat like an engine, set sail or a person with oars, the boat will be pushed naturally by the currents. Even to keep the boat in place, an anchor or rope is used to resist the drifting. In our lives, there will always be movement, even if the movement is unintentional. As the saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I describe it as The Weeds Grow By Default.
How It Applies To Our Lives
As I’ve stated earlier, each area of our lives is like a garden. Some examples of life gardens are finances, health, and time. Regardless of the garden, we can see the principle at work. Let’s look at these example areas in more detail.
Have you ever had a sum of money and at the end of the day you couldn’t figure out where it all went? Situations will arise naturally that will consume your money, like spending it on things you don’t need or giving it away if you don’t have a plan for it. While nothing is wrong with using your money in either of those ways, it is considered a loss if it was not allocated correctly. Each dollar you don’t assign to something specific will be taken by the weeds.
To avoid loss, it is necessary to become better managers of our finances. There are lots of articles and books available that can show you how to manage your money. One method that works for me is to assign each dollar to something specific even if that something specific is spending on things you don’t need. At the end of the day, once you’re able to account for it, it won’t be considered a loss.
When it comes to health, the principle is a little more obvious. If we don’t exercise and eat correctly, we’ll become unhealthy. Unfortunately for some of us, we only get intentional about eating healthy and exercising after we get sick. In the garden analogy, this is like the owner of the garden neglecting the garden up until the weeds took over. Instead of waiting until the worst happens to take steps to regain our health, we can maintain good health through consistent management.
Unless we make a conscious effort to exercise and eat the right things, we won’t. For example, say you go to a party and there is ice cream, cake, soda, water, and salad. It is unlikely, you will drink water, and eat salad if you didn’t decide in advance to eat healthily. By default, we take the path of least resistance. To minimize loss of health, we should have a diet and exercise plan even if it is as simple as only drinking soda on the weekend.
I believe our time is the greatest example of losing what we don’t manage. Although it may not feel like it, everyone has 24 hours per day. Since it can’t be stopped, it is important to manage that time to avoid loss. When thinking of time as a garden, the weeds are the things that take your time when you haven’t planned anything for it. For example, by not deciding in advance how you will spend your weekend productively, you are likely to spend it binge-watching your favorite tv show. It’s like they say, “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
With this in mind, it’s important to put the necessary controls in place to keep the weeds out. One way to do this is to set priorities for each day to ensure that the important things get done. As a believer, it means seeking God’s kingdom first. When I get up in the morning, I make an effort to read my bible and pray before anything else. When I get to work, I make a note of what’s important to get done for that particular day and start working those items before any other task. You may even want to take this a step further by planning what you will do with every hour of your day. Whichever way you decide to manage your time, by deciding to do so you will avoid wasting it.
In this article, I’ve shown through three areas of life how “What You Don’t Manage, You Will Lose.” But it does not apply to just three. The principle applies to just about every other area as well. If you don’t manage your relationships, you will lose them. If you don’t manage your assets you will lose them. Whatever it is that belongs to you, the general rule is that “What You Don’t Manage, You Will Lose.”