Recently we purchased a new home with a nice big yard for us to enjoy. As we have been spending our free time building things like gardens and landscaping it to fit within the picture in our minds the grass continued to grow and I was forced to go shopping for a lawn mower. I decided it would be best to go with a manual mower powered by nothing but elbow grease and a desire to be a little more environmentally conscious.
In getting out in the yard this evening and fighting my way through the grass and weeds which had been left too long I was once again reminded of the cathartic experience simple manual labour can offer. Alone in the city with the smell of clean air and fresh cut grass I was once again wrapped up solitude which allowed me to focused my thoughts. The simple task of keeping the body occupied and yet having the freedom to lose myself in thought has become a very helpful tool for me.
I find it is easy to get wrapped up in the chaotic life of living in a major city, operating a business by day and maintaining a social life by night. We often forget to take time to look inwards and reflect on what is important and establish what to focus on moving forward.
Feelings and emotions, are the access point to your inner powers of mind. Solitude is one of the most powerful activity in which one can engage. So many epiphanies have been created in times of solitude and thought (some may call it meditating). I find I begin to experience a flow of energy coming into my mind and body as well as a tremendous sense of well-being. Answer to lingering questions seem to appear, new goals are crystallized and old irrelevant goals seem to drift away.
I read recently a study of happiness and a large group of people were asked what would make them happier in life. A very large portion of those interviewed felt earning more money (20-50% increase in annual income) would dramatically increase happiness levels. However, as the subject’s lives were followed there was no correlation between increased happiness and increased income.
What I found truly amazing about this study was when the group of people were asked what impact a 10 minute walk every evening in a park would do for happiness levels virtually none of them felt the nightly nature walk would have any effect on happiness levels. In contrast, of those who took a nightly walk almost all showed a dramatic increase in overall happiness. The study showed that as little as 10 minutes each day alone in nature with a minimal amount of physical activity was the best way to increase happiness and the feeling of fulfillment in life. It has once again been proven, money can not by itself buy happiness.
In looking back at my decision to purchase the manual mower, perhaps it is not just the environment who is benefiting. A simple act of green can have a huge impact on happiness and achievement levels in life. The time spent outside pushing the mower can be perhaps the most important business activity I participate in all week.