Tumbleweeds and Redwoods: Tumbleweed Mindset or Majestic Redwood Mindset?

How your mindset determines your outcome

As a kid growing up in Central California, I was always fascinated with tumbleweeds. California and other dry, arid climates produce these large round plants. Like a scene right out of an old western movie, you knew there was trouble brewing when you saw tumbleweeds rolling down a deserted ghost town. Once mature, tumbleweeds dry out because of their shallow, one root system. When the first strong wind comes, the tumbleweed is lifted away, rolling and tumbling around wherever the wind happens to blow it. The Tumbleweed never knows where it will end up for it doesn’t have a strong root system to keep it in place.

Are you easily distracted?

Some people are like tumbleweeds. Without a sense of direction some people can wonder aimlessly throughout life without any sense or direction. A person with a tumbleweed mindset will always start in a one direction only to become distracted and head in another. Without a clear direction, a person can lead others to a graveyard of indecisiveness.  A team may lose sight of its purpose if it’s lead by a leader who lacks vision and direction. A tumbleweed mentality can destroy an entire team and leave behind a trail of destruction. The team begins to lose sight of all the directions it was headed into. Unfortunately today we can see a tumbleweed mentality in just about every area of a person’s life: marriage, family and business.

Do you let adversity get the best of you?

In sharp contrast is the majestic redwood. Redwoods are full of life, however they do not grow without adversity. They tower high into the sky and can grow to over 300 feet in height and live to over 1500 years. One would think that the redwood has a deep root system, however the root system grows less than 12 feet deep.  The roots grow sideways and for every foot the tree grows, it grows 3 feet of roots in a sideways direction. It’s not uncommon to have a 300-foot tall redwood with 900 feet of roots. Though redwoods cannot live alone. Other redwoods must accompany them and this happens when their roots intertwine with each other. This is how a redwood gets its strength. They grow in groves. These redwood groves with their large roots are so intertwined that you cannot tell which redwood’s root system is which.

Redwoods go through adversity; they have scars that have come over time. From wild fires to other natural causes, redwoods stand the test of time. The redwood grove is essential for its survival, so when the first strong wind comes the redwood grove stands strong together.

Strong people who lead organizations with solid leadership have the ability to connect and intertwine with their team members. They set out with a vision and adjust as the vision grows all awhile keeping their focus on the goal.  Highly successful people who have built highly successful organizations, on a solid foundation, leave a legacy long after they are gone.

There are five pillars that must be in place for this type of redwood leadership to be effective.

  • The first is world-class leadership. Leaders have the wisdom and ability to help and develop other leaders.

  • Second, the products and or services must be disruptive to the market place. Being first to market is key to a company’s longevity.

  • Third, a strong organization recognizes timing and uses it to their advantage.

  • Fourth, it is vital for a strong organization to offer generous rewards package, which allows the average team member the ability to earn and climb the ranks in their own organization.

  • Fifth, an organization with that can duplicate itself with a proven system is unstoppable. The finest leaders in the strongest organizations realize that they must have a system that goes from the top leader to the newest team member.

Once a person understands the difference between a tumbleweed mindset and a redwood mindset, it should be simple to begin navigating one’s life in a meaningful direction.

Some Recommended readings are:

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

  2. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

  3. Becoming your Best – Steven R. Shallenberger

Three Feet From Gold

Napoleon Hill’s classic, Three Feet from Gold, is a lesson on not giving up, instead, adjusting your sails. You have so many like-minded people cheering you on. Never give up—winners don’t quit! We get two to three opportunities in our lifetime so never let anyone stop you from reaching your dreams. You have so much to do and so little time to do it.  Put the naysayers on notice to step aside. You’re going to climb your mountain, and no one will stop you. 

See you at the top. The view is absolutely spectacular!

Sieg Taylor

The most common cause of failure is the habit of quitting.  When one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.

An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught up by the gold fever back in the gold-rush days, and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.

After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.

The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits.

Down went the drills!  Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle!  Then something happened!  The vein of gold ore disappeared!  They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again— all to no avail.

Finally, they decided to QUIT.

They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. Some “junk” men are dumb, but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the Darbys had stopped drilling! That is exactly where it was found!

The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.

Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.

Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over, when he made the discovery that desire can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.

Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he stopped three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, by the simple method of saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”

Darby is one of a small group of fewer than fifty men who sell more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. He owes his stickability to the lesson he learned from his quit-ability in the gold mining business.

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with temporary defeat, and, perhaps some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men known in this country, told the author their greatest success came from just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.