The smartest person to have ever lived said, ‘The true paradigm for growth and health is as follows: unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’

We most typically, and most vehemently, tend to believe that the picture below better represents growth and health (…or we completely abandon health in favor of “significance“):

History is brimming with stories of explosive growth. But the thing about explosions is that they kill people. We love things that get vast fast, and make big sounds, and shine bright and sparkle big. We are extremely attracted to stuff like this:

But a better, healthier, more-lasting, and much much much less entertaining paradigm for life and community is:

When you think about the life you want to cultivate for yourself and for others, think about the time, patience, perseverance, and inconvenience involved in making a fire. Think about the arduous labor of felling a tree; think about the time and energy involved in sectioning the tree into logs, and splitting the logs into firewood; think about the waiting, and waiting, and waiting required before the wood is ready to burn; think about the tedious process of gathering of twigs and sticks; think about starting a fire without a match or a lighter and the time it takes to get a spark to land upon the kindling just right, and then the quick-but-delicate breath of air you must produce and aim upon the infant spark; think about the unwavering process of nursing the initial flames into a steady blaze, and the slow development of the fire – gently feeding it more twigs, and then more twigs; and then log after log after log after log – and slowly watching that fire evolve into a bedrock of robust pulsating embers that stay hot for days on end. Think about all the great, unhurried, conversations you’ve had sitting around a fire; because a fire (with its quiet crackles, and mysterious dancing flames, and rhythmic living coals) invites people into unrushed fellowship (replete with spells of easy silence and substantive dialogue).

Don’t get distracted and bogged-down by flashy, important-looking, titantic, explosive, and sky-scraping attractions. Instead, fix your attention on small, unseen, dead, and fruitful endeavors; requiring patience, perseverance, and commitment in the face of suffering.

Cheers & Coos Coos!