When you think of Spring Break, images of sandy beaches, powdery snow or even days on your sofa might run through your mind. For my family this year was different.
A friend’s Facebook post and our son’s interest in a “wild adventure” led us to become tourists in our home state of Florida. The destination? Florida Caverns State Park.
Did you know there were caves in Florida? Neither did we. But one rainy afternoon, we embarked on a journey, taking us below the surface, down into Florida’s only air filled cavern. Best of all was the intriguing beauty of the stalagmites, stalactites and other limestone formations.
Most impressive was this one fact. Stalactites and stalagmites grow at an unbelievable rate of 10cm every 1,000 years. Think about it this way: a12-inch ruler is 30 centimeters long. So, to grow a ruler’s length, we are talking 3,000 years!
My wife and I were just as amazed as our six year old to learn this fact and discussed it on the way home. We related it to personal growth and how we are always so needy for immediate gratification. Lose weight? It should only take a few weeks. Get that work promotion? It should occur on day one. Reaching that financial goal? The money should come pouring in this week.
But really, growth can happen at a snail’s pace- unapparent to the naked eye. The stalactites form from a consistent drop of mineral filled precipitation dripping from the limestone cave ceiling. This slow and steady movement of water builds upon itself over and over again, creating beautiful, unique and strong formations that last thousands of years. (Some date back 190,000 years).
So how about us? How about our own development? To achieve success and growth in our own lives, shouldn’t we expect the same? True and lasting growth occurs through the steady building of experiences, knowledge, successes and failures. The quick and easy might give short term results, but they are fleeting, rather for lasting growth a foundation must be built and then continuingly built upon.
Another interesting fact is that these limestone formations are sensitive to human touch; the oil from our fingers actually stunts the growth by preventing the mineral precipitation from attaching to the previous layer. How much similar is that to our growth when we allow outside influences, short cuts or negative thoughts into our minds, which then stunt our personal development.
After our journey to North Florida, it became more apparent that we are a continual work in progress. Each step we take towards developing ourselves should be taken with the same consistency, persistence and PATIENCE as these limestone formations. While we may not always realize the changes occurring immediately, they do build upon themselves, until finally one day we experience and see the beauty that has been created.
This month I encourage you to continue your journey forward in what is important to you and to have the patience and persistence to see it through.
Have a great month!
“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”
– Winston Churchill –