If you want to improve your life, you have to cut somewhere


I was bewildered when in May I saw an old lady completely cutting a giant flower plant; she was at the end of the job. That plant regularly showed many bright yellow flowers and it was able to resist cold and dry weather, wind and heavy rain. The plant used to grow so well in the front garden of the old  lady that, when jogging, I used to admire its beauty when full of flowers.

When I saw all these short stems coming out from the ground but nothing more, one big “Oh, no!” came out from my mouth. The old lady turned and simply said with a smile: “Don’t worry, you will see what is going to happen in two months, I haven’t cut the roots!”. At the beginning of July it looked like the plant was never cut; it grew so fast to be greener than before, with a better shape, higher, with more straight branches and full of leaves and flowers.

If you want to change your path and move forward, you have to cut somewhere. You have to cut all the things that make you waste time and then reallocate the energy and time to your life objectives. This can change your life, because you will be free from many useless branches that suck your energy, but with the same strong roots! You can think that your roots are made up of the good things you have learned and the set of values that define your identity.

As a simple exercise, you can make a list of all the things you do in one week and try to calculate how many hours you spend on these activities as average. For example, you may come out with something like:

1 week = 24 hours x 7 days = 168 hours

  • 56 hours of sleep
  • 52 hours of work + commuting
  • 10 hours for personal hygiene and to get ready to go out
  • 10 hours for cleaning (house, clothes, cutlery)
  • 7 hours for cooking and eating at home
  • 15 hours of social activities (time spent doing shared face to face activities with your relatives/partner/children/friends)
  • 5 hours social networking on the internet
  • 8 hours watching TV or playing videogames
  • 5 hours leisure time / sport

The hours spent on each bullet and the number of bullets obviously vary depending on the personal circumstances. However, if you were in the situation of the example, you can see that simply to switch off  TV and to stop playing videogames can release 8 hours each week that can be rallocated to work on the own personal life objectives.

Well, we need to be realistic. If it was so easy, everyone would use his/her time to the best, but unfortunately this is not the case. For example, watching TV or playing videogames is considered as a relaxing or exciting activity and it may be difficult to find alternatives. Looking at this situation from a different perspective, if you spent these 8 hours each week doing meditation, you would achieve a level of relaxation you would have never imagined. Or if you did 2 hours of meditation and 6 hours of something very important for you each week, you would increase both your overall relaxation and your level of motivation and satisfaction. This would be already a significant start to improve your life. As last step, multiply these 8 hours each week by the number of weeks in a year (52). This equals around 400 hours altogether, spent doing something important for you: well, you probably start seeing the path to build happiness and success.


Many thanks in advance for your comments!



Steps to becoming confident, successful and happy

Brilliant well-being: the life-transforming book


Copyright © – Dimitri Gianesini – All rights reserved

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3 thoughts on “If you want to improve your life, you have to cut somewhere

  1. Justine says:

    Wow. I love your philosophy. It really highlights the little ‘down time’ that a lot of busy/career-focussed individuals actually have, and the importance of making the most of it rather than wasting it.
    I am a Masters student, working full time, and also starting my own business (I’m a nutritionist). Every day, I set out to learn as much as I possibly can on a minimal amount of topics. I try not to overwhelm myself with too much information, and try to limit myself to only one or two projects/research/activities. Instead of overwhelming myself with a number of different research topics/business plans etc, I really focus on the quality that I achieve rather than the quantity.

  2. Amy Marie says:

    Very insightful reading and when we stop to think how much time is truly wasted, our lives will in fact be truly rich in living in the very moment. Once this is recognized and there is a willingness to change some things in our daily routine. I feel this is the very essence in creating the most positive life right now! Keep doing what you love! Amy@ Island7

  3. faggiemaggie says:

    Great content. It’s frustrating to watch others live less than their ideal, only to find them consumed with TV, video games, (insert other time draining activity). There’s so much more to see, learn, do, and feel in life. All we have to do is act and little differences begin unfolding.

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