When I was in middle school, I was a science fair nerd. I won the science fair three years in a row. All of my experiments were done on plants. Plants were simple and straightforward, not complicated like people or animals. Little did I know that what affects plant growth also affects human growth, and not in a way I expected.
The first experiment I did was on the effect of different liquids on plant height. I “watered” the plants with water, coffee, soda, and orange juice. The plants that were fed soda and orange juice not only didn’t grow, but they died, and mold grew in their place.
Your intake will affect your growth. And I am not talking about your physical diet, although that too will affect your health. I am not here to preach the benefits of kale or the dangers of too much saturated fat. I am talking about your spiritual and emotional intake. These are the things you subscribe to. These are the influencers you follow on social media. These are the people you listen to. This intake is the gossip at work or the fear you feed into in your mind. Food is either medicine or poison. If you take in too much poison, you will stunt your growth as a person, but other things will grow in the place of your potential. You can let bitterness, resentment, hate, grudges, and fear grow in the place of love, gratitude, appreciation, and hope. It all boils down to what you take in on a daily basis. Remember, fear is poison, but gratitude is the best medicine.
The second experiment I did was on the effect of different types of soil on plant height. Some seeds were planted in rich soil, while some were planted in sand, clay, and even concrete. You already know which one grew the most. Some of the seeds planted in the concrete never even sprouted.
Your environment will determine your growth. You always hear that you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with, and it’s true. If you live in toxicity, surrounding yourself with people who put you down or make you play small in this life, you are limiting your potential. If you are constantly being taken advantage of, disrespected, or not loved in the way you should, the environment is limiting your growth. If you surround yourself with people who encourage you to take risks and follow your heart, you will grow. These are the people who build you up. These are the people that celebrate your victories. Yes, you have to do the work, but those people will help you unlock the potential within you for greatness. Some of the seeds planted in concrete, however, did grow, although not as quickly as the ones planted in the rich soil. Your environment shapes your potential, but it doesn’t determine it. You do.
The last experiment I did was on how exposure to radiation affects plant height. I got seeds that were exposed to different levels of radiation from some science website and measured their growth. The interesting thing was that the plants with moderate to even severe levels of radiation grew taller than the ones that weren’t exposed to any radiation.
Your past will help your growth. Your pain will shape your growth. The expression “what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger” is true, no matter how cliché it might be. You just have to let the experience shape you, not break you. You have to take the lessons and leave the pain. You have all that you need inside of you. It is waiting to break free and grow, just like the potential of the seed. You may have to weather a few storms, but you will make it. Your potential will be revealed in the risks you take. Your potential will be revealed in the times that you thought you might not make it through. One day, when you are blooming in your becoming, you’ll look back in gratitude at what brought you here.