Why is life so hard?

What a transformation!

I enjoy walking around Warley Place Nature Reserve in Brentwood. I’m fascinated by the history. Ellen Ann Wilmott was one of two daughters of the Wilmott family that moved there in 1875. She was so passionate about gardening she set about transforming it! Into the garden she introduced plants from all around the world.  She had a ravine and caves built to house ferns and an alpine garden. Royalty visited this extraordinary exhibition garden. She was awarded an RHS medal of Honour by Queen Victoria in 1897.

Less than a shadow of former things

I find it quite moving walking around the reserve. It is in such a state of decline that it has to be maintained by a workforce of volunteers. Weeds and out of control shrubs have smothered the space where there was once a boating lake. Short brick rectangles on the ground are all that is left from an array of outbuildings, glass and greenhouses that housed exotic specimens. 150 years later what remains are just glimpses and shadows of former things. Imagination and select old photographs are all that remain to try to piece together what it looked like.

Natural Decline

The natural disposition is one of decline. If we just observe any living thing, the eventual outcome is that of decline, disarray and death. Just like I witnessed at Warley Place. And so, in life it is easier to allow things to take their natural course, to travel along the path of least resistance. However, this inevitably leads to decay.

Hard work

As a gardener (amateur, I might add) I find myself sometimes getting frustrated that weeds grow, and grow, and grow! They need no encouragement , no help, they don’t need to be planted-they just appear! Whereas the fruit and vegetables I choose to grow, need consistent care and attention. I need to tend to them, sometimes on a daily basis, to ensure they give me the quality and quantity of the crop I want. The correct seeds must be sown in the right conditions during the right season. They must be watered, the ground weeded, some require support/tying, some need parts to be pinched out, some need feeding, they need to be protected from infestations. So much effort is required- yet empty ground will soon cultivate itself with all manner of weeds.

Our thoughts

Without proper care and attention this would be the condition of our thought-life. And as philosophical author James Allen observes, all of our behaviours, our character and our choices are a result of what we allow ourselves to think. Whether you’re thinking bad thoughts or good ones, they will impact you. Not only you, but also how you treat the world around you. You can’t choose what other people say or do. However you do have a choice over what you say and do. Although it may seem tough to start with, life will get easier!

Practice makes permanent!

Having probably formed your way of thinking for years, it isn’t something that is likely to change overnight. Just like a morbidly obese person isn’t going to look like Miss World because they dieted for a day and walked 2 miles. Like anything in life, it requires consistent practice. You’re strength training your mind. You’ll probably get your feet wet if you try to jump across the river in one go. Use the stepping stones.

If you need help with anything like this, then check out my website www.lifesnextlevel.com and get in touch hello@lifesnextlevel.com.


“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.” James Allen