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A year ago, I decided to plant a rose garden,
enamoured as I am by the sight and scent of
fresh flowers.
I chose a spot in my backyard, and with visions
of flowering rose bushes in my mind, set about
bringing in soil and fertiliser.
Next, I went on a search for rose plants,
picking out those with rich colours and
We planted the rose bushes over a weekend,
watered them regularly over the next few
months and waited for results.
Unfortunately, our dogs dug up two of the
plants, killing them.
I hedged the surviving plants with a mesh to
protect them from the playful dogs. Soon little
shoots begun to appear and the plants begun
to grow upwards.
However, a year later, they had only grown a
few inches and as yet, had borne no flowers.
What was wrong? I had done everything right,
or so I thought. I went back to do more
Roses require full sun, the gardening books
and sites insisted. Perhaps, that was the
I decided to spend a day at home examining
how the sun travelled over the rose garden.
To my dismay, I discovered, that since I had
sited rose garden in the backyard, on a
westerly side, it only receives afternoon sun
which is not particularly strong.
Secondly, the house tended to shade the
backyard, denying the roses further precious
sunlight. I had got everything right, except the
location of my rose garden.
From experience I knew the roses would
continue to struggle in their present location
and the abundant flowers I had been dreaming
about would not be.
There was only one thing left to do. Remove
the rose bushes, and plant them elsewhere.
The backyard would need shade loving plants.
That failed rose garden provided a crucial life
lesson. I asked myself, “Do I know what I need
to thrive?”
My rose plants had valiantly fought to survive
in an environment that was not conducive to
their growth, an environment that did not
bring out their full glory.
To their credit, they had done a good job of it,
after-all, they were still alive a year later. But
for them to be happy enough to bear flowers,
they would need to move. It was as simple as
Often times, we are like those rose bushes.
From all external appearances, we seem to
have everything that should make us thrive.
For instance, we may have the educational
background, the experience and the relevant
connections for career success but for some
reason promotions are elusive.
Alternatively, we do everything we are told will
bring us happiness, but still feel disconnected
and unfulfilled.
When it comes to our health, we may have no
debilitating illness but when climbing stairs
leaves us breathless, or we wake up with little
energy, we know we are not thriving
We can choose to stay in our survival zone and
when someone asks how we are doing, we
respond with a smug, “I’m just surviving
man.” Alternatively, we can choose to
introduce the changes that will make us
thrive, coming into the fullness of who we
were created to be.
Sometimes, the changes we need to introduce
are big and scary. Often times, they are simple
and subtle.
What we must not do, is leave things as they
are and expect a different result.
We must also understand that what makes
one person thrive may stunt another person.
One of my friends is a self confessed city girl
who loves the bright lights, high rise buildings
and the energy buzz from living close to the
CBD. That would drive me insane, and I find
that I regularly need to escape to the
countryside, to a slower pace, and greenery to
We are different, with different thriving
So back to the question, “Do you know what
you need to thrive?” You may need time out to
ponder this question, to find out in which
situations you feel at peace, fulfilled and
Find out, what job would you gladly do, even if
you were not getting paid for it? What are you
most complimented on? Where and how would
you like to live? Like my rose bushes, find your
sunny spot. And thrive