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Clearing Out the Stink
by Robb On October 8, 2013

Skunks. They smell funny. I’m not sure what purpose they serve, other than to help promote tomato soup sales in the event of a spraying. We have skunks living somewhere around our house. I know this because I have lost several nights of sleep this summer thanks to their odiferous shenanigans. But lo and behold, those color-confused rodents actually taught me something.

After watching a skunk run across our deck one night, my wife and I decided to start narrowing down the list of places they could be. We got it down to two; under the deck and in the forsythia bushes on the side of our house.

Full Forsythia

If I were looking for a good place to hide, this would be it

We decided to make it a zero-sum game for the skunk and since it’s a lot easier to cut down bushes than a deck, we started with the forsythia. For regular readers, you might know that we just moved into a new (to us) home that has no shortage of items on the Honey-do list. We had spent one of our first weekends clearing out the dead branches in another set of bushes earlier in the summer so I had a pretty good idea of what we were in for.

Halfway There

Halfway There

As I was cutting the bushes down, it started looking a bit scary. The growth was so overbearing that it became obvious the only way to manage these things was a full-on hacking.

The Aftermath

The Aftermath – See the other bushes in the background?

 

We were a bit nervous about what a barren side of the house was going to look like until I glanced back and saw the other bushes we had cleaned out earlier in the year. They were flourishing. Any Greenthumb will tell you that in order to make sure your plants grow, you need to clear our the dead stuff. If not, it will just choke out the good stuff and you’ll be left with mediocre landscaping.

What does overgrown bushes and a feral skunk have to do with you? Lots. Often times, we find ourselves “overgrown” in life, in relationships, in money, or in projects. We get there because we just “let it be” without actually doing anything; right or wrong. By nature, your brain will run its course and build up lots of unhealthy ideas. And some of those ideas really stink! Just like the farmer who has to methodically manage weeds in his field, you have to manage your thoughts and beliefs. The best way to do that is to clear out the old growth. And then sometimes, you gotta just slash and burn.

One of the best ways to clear your mind is some form of exercise, but lately I’ve been reading a ton. It’s great to let some new opinions and ideas come in and either supplement or replace old thoughts, beliefs and habits you have formed. I’m personally on a mission to complete 13 books this year. What a difference adding this new information has made in my relationships, my career and my overall happiness. If you are looking for suggestions, give me a shout, but start with Roger Seip‘s Train Your Brain For Success! What do YOU do to help control the unruly growth in your life? We’d love to hear your suggestions. Post something in the comments below.

As for the skunk, I think it is still roaming the neighborhood. But fortunately, s/he doesn’t seem to be spending as much time around our place. Unfortunately, though there’s lots of other “old growth” around us. Looks like lots of us have some work to do.

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