People want growth.  Personal growth, professional growth, spiritual growth and organizational growth.  The desire for growth permeates those who pursue living life to it’s fullest.  The drive for growth resides in every living thing.  But how do we maximize growth potential?  What are the key elements to healthy sustainable growth?  Lets explore the basic principle for maximizing growth potential.

The best growth occurs when we remove unwanted distractions.  This is the opposite impulse most people have when they want growth.  Usually we look to add the next thing that will help get us to our desired outcome.  But nature and art both can teach us something about subtracting unwanted elements from life to produce the best kind of growth.

Grapevines are a great example of healthy growth producing fruit.  Grapevines grow healthy when they are pruned seasonally.  Removing limbs that are dead or dying, and simply removing unwanted growth will enhance the branches that remain.  Through pruning you can control the direction and areas of growth.  Removal provides resource, energy and margin for new growth in the right places.

Michelangelo arguably created the greatest work of all time, the statue of David.  He was commissioned by the Pope to create it, which he did.  When Michelangelo finished the sculpture of David and it was delivered to the Vatican, the Pope was astonished.  Reviewing the legendary work of art with Michelangelo, the Pope asked him how he did it.  Michelangelo’s reply was profound, “it was easy, I removed everything that wasn’t David.”

Often, creating something healthy, something beautiful is a function of what we choose to remove compared to what we choose to retain and focus on.  When you evaluate your life, where are you investing time, energy and resource that is not producing the desired results?  Or it is not producing growth in the areas you want.

We can add growth by removing things that impede growth and redirect energies where we desire growth.  The greatest resources we have are time, and energy.  Measure things in life that require your time and your energy, and align them with what you want in life.  If they will not produce the future you envision, it’s time to prune.

Sometimes we prune relationships that require a lot of sideways energy, or we prune an activity or hobby that requires too much time.  Then there are the small things that steal time and energy, social media, televisision, etc.

In our work life often we do tasks that others can do equivalently or better, when we should release them and refocus on things that produce the greatest rewards.

Creating margin in time and energy through pruning, followed with a reinvestment of that time and energy in areas you want will harness and maximize growth potential.

You can cut 30 minutes of screen time four days a week and reinvest it in a workout, and change your body.  One can drop unhealthy relationships and reinvest in family or life long friends.  If you trim four hours of tasks per work week, you can create 200 hours of positive energy over the course of a year in any area you want.  That’s over one full month!

It is time for you to sculpt the life you want.  And sculpting is an operation of subtraction.  When Michelangello created arguably the greatest piece of art in history and delivered it to the Vatican. The Pope asked Michelangello how he made such a beautiful statue of King David.  Michelangello responded “it was easy, I removed everything that wasn’t David.”

Remove anything that doesn’t produce the life you desire and you will maximize growth potential.