• Justin McLennan

Don't Plant Pumpkin Seeds Expecting Tomatoes

When we lose awareness of our thoughts, we end up reacting to our world rather than influencing it. We lose our sense of self-efficacy, that feeling of confidence we have in our self to overcome and achieve whatever it is we desire. Self-reflection is a superpower that most of us don’t know we have. It is an ability that allows us to see the different patterns that we have that may be holding us back or even helping us succeed. Without self-reflection, it becomes easy for a person to feel torn in two directions. Take, for example, a person who portrays all the confidence in the world to others, but whose inner voice tells them, “you’re never going to be good enough.” It’s hard to actually feel confident when your own internal story is telling you, you won’t get there. Self-reflection helps us understand the stories we tell ourselves. The stories that keep our chapter book growing or the stories that keep us reading the same page over and over again.


Each story that we tell ourselves is like a seed being planted by a gardener. A gardener does not plant pumpkin seeds expecting tomato plants. Just like we can’t have an inner story, telling us we can’t do it, expecting confidence. We must tend to our minds like a dedicated gardener tends to her garden. As we become more aware of our thoughts, we can choose to cultivate those thoughts or to change them. Just as a gardener manages her seedlings to ensure they continue to grow no matter the weather, rainfall, pests, or weeds, we must tend to our ever-growing minds. We must cultivate our minds by adding rich nutrients of thought that will help the right “seeds” flourish.


Self-reflection is a vital tool for cultivating a bright and flourishing garden. Much like when a gardener tills her own soil, self-reflection helps us examine our inner garden. Tilling helps control weeds, break up crusted soil, and loosen up small areas for planting. Similarly, self-reflection can help us notice and remove any “weeds” (aka negative thoughts), breakthrough long-lasting patterns we’ve had for years, and even help us make room for more positive patterns of thoughts and behaviors. When we chose to learn from our inner garden each day, we open ourselves up for immense growth. Weeds will pop up wherever we go, much to the gardener’s dismay. But for the gardener who weeds a little each day, the task becomes just a little bit smaller. And maybe just maybe, you can wake up seeing more flowers than weeds and truly taste the fruits of your labor. Hopefully, that’s some food for thought.

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