The Greatest Life Hack the Oak Tree Teaches

There are many gurus coming out to tell people how they can live life in their most authentic way. It seems as if a large part of the world is already there based on the number of these experts. This is where perception is not a reality. To the contrary of what this may make us believe, the people that are always themselves are one per cent of the population. It is more likely that you know someone that was struck by lightning than that you have a friend that is part of this unicorn population. These people are the Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King type of folks.

It certainly is difficult to be part of this population as our animal instincts somehow always end up overpowering our human side, but it is not unachievable. Here are some tips to help you.

Stick to Your Life Plan

Being yourself all the time is the greatest time hack that we have in life. It is not about having the best app. It is not about having the best schedule and daily routines. If you want to be the most efficient ever, be yourself and only pursue things that align with your life plan. Often because we try to fit into a certain image of our external environment, we tend to chase someone else’s plans for us. We often get involved in time-consuming things that are not ideal for our own future. This is not a malicious intent of anyone else, but more an outcome from lack of clarity around who we are.

This is where some may jump in with objections and say that it is a selfish perspective. It may seem so, but it is not because I am not saying to not be a giver. If you want to be a giver, the best giver you can be is the one you are designed for internally. If you keep pursuing other people’s desires for you to give, you simply do not have time to become that thing you are meant for. This goes for anything in life. By being you all the time you say no to 99 percent of things in front of you, to be able to move mountains with the one per cent meant for you. It’s an extreme mindset, but being a high achiever requires to have one.

One of my favorite quotes is that 90 per cent of difference occurs in the last 10 per cent of our development and effort. It is like when a body gets stronger and we grow muscle. Say an exercise requires 10 repetitions. In order to get the most muscle growth out of those 10 repetitions, you must pick a weight that is heavy enough to be able to barely finish the last repetition. It is not the first nine that make the biggest difference, they simply pave the way for the 10th. When the body must recruit strength more than it is used to, it releases hormones to make the necessary change. Without that last 10th repetition, the result would be a tiny fraction of what the full potential is.

Be Like an Oak Tree

When we apply this understanding to human performance and development, we must grasp that we have to create vertical and not lateral growth to get there. To illustrate the vertical growth, let’s take the example of a strong oak tree. The part of nature that represents lateral growth is a tumbleweed. An oak plants its roots deep into what it is and then develops and grows high. It is strong and can withstand many heavy storms without being moved, giving it the ability to build on the previous year’s growth and continue it in the following. It can adapt and grow in many ways, but its foundation remains the same. A tumbleweed grows in a way that allows it to be blown all over the place, giving it ability to regenerate and grow elsewhere the next cycle. Each year it grows, but the growth is short-lived and is not built on the progress of the previous year; hence, never giving it the ability to reach the heights needed to become a high achiever.

To behave like an oak requires an understanding that you can’t be something for everyone and need to be one great thing for someone. If you keep scattering yourself all over the field like tumbleweeds, there is just not enough of you out there to become the amazing version you are meant for.