What You Appreciate, Appreciates

A fundamental principle for growing wealth, love, happiness — everything — lives in a remote corner of India.

More than 40 years ago, a humble farmer named Jadav Payeng started to plant trees on a desolate river island. Known as “The Forest Man of India,” he planted tens of thousands of trees — bamboo, cottonwood and other varieties. What was once a barren sandbar blossomed into a 1,300-acre forest teeming with birds, monkeys, elephants and even tigers.

As he told NPR, it was his way of honoring nature. His small act of appreciation, planting seeds every day, grew to something beyond anything he could imagine.

And that is the way with everything in life.

What you appreciate, appreciates. For you and for others. It is an important principle that applies to every pursuit in life, from investing to relationships.

Money, when invested and reserved for the future, can grow exponentially through the power of compounding.

This graph shows how earnings on earnings will increasingly grow over time if you leave them in your account
Source: Vanguard

Generosity is contagious, as acts of giving and kindness have been shown to inspire observers to help others later — potentially spreading by a factor of three.

Happiness, too, can spread through a network like a cold, for when one person is happy the odds of people connected to that person becoming happy increase.

Gratitude for positive things and experiences leads to having more positive things and experiences.

Social connectedness (i.e., friendship) generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical well-being.

Love in a long-lasting marriage endures through small daily acts of connections and passion.

Habits build upon themselves, which grow most effectively through gradual and consistent baby steps, as shown in Stanford behavior scientist B.J. Fogg’s Behavior Model from his book, Tiny Habits.

Tiny habits and the Fogg Behavior Model - BJ Fogg - Minds for Change

Passion for work doesn’t have to be found or followed when it is more likely to be cultivated and enhanced over time through mastery.

Longevity is increased — possibly by more than a decade — by practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors every day, as low-risk behaviors are inversely related to mortality risk.

Creativity begets creative thinking.

Self-confidence rises in those who practice confidence.

Knowledge compounds by learning at least one thing each day so that you go to bed smarter than when you woke up.

Purpose and meaning proliferate in life when you engage in actions that are purposeful and meaningful.

Time becomes more plentiful when you are more protective of your time.

What you appreciate, appreciates.

There are many more qualities and studies out there that can prove this point. The key takeaway: If something truly matters to you, working at it in small steps with both grace and consistency will pay huge dividends.

It moves you closer to the process than the outcome, which helps keep you from quitting when progress seems inconsequential or invisible.

This principle is also a powerful tool for determining how to live your life well. After all, what you spend most your time and effort on becomes your life.

When you know what great things are possible in the future, you gain a greater sense of responsibility for your actions today.

If you want to grow something in your life, heed the wise words of Robert Louis Stevenson: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

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