This week I went from the 48 degrees and rainy world of the Pacific Northwest to the 90-plus degrees of the Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale, Arizona. I thought I was going to see cactii, cactii, and more cactii (it was true – I saw Barrel Cactus, Saguaro, Prickly Pear Cactus and more.) And one of the coolest things I saw was a cactus flower on what locals called a “Big Red” Cactus.
Cactus flowers are startling – they appear in an instant, last only a little while (in the case of these flowers, they peaked in one day), and then are gone – and surprisingly, appear in a wide array of colors. We saw white, red, purple, yellow, and pink examples of these flowers — neat.
So why is work (or is work) like a cactus flower?
Work can be incredibly hard and only bear fruit once in a great while. The surroundings of that work can be prickly and dangerous, and still might produce a beautiful thing that smells great. Take advantage of it when it happens.
Interesting surprises don’t always last long, so it’s vitally important that you celebrate them when they happen. And don’t forget – it’s not just about work. Work will always be able to wait for the really important things in your life (even if you don’t feel like it at the time.)
Good things happen at unexpected times, so be on the lookout
The rest of the time — when you don’t see a cactus flower, when it’s hot outside and you’re ready to give up — is hardly a time to slack off. The cactus contributes to its ecosystem just by being around (support for the environment, shelter and potentially nourishment for desert creatures, and looks cool too.) You can still keep working to produce beautiful things, celebrate them when (and if) they happen, and keep on supporting whatever you define as your ecosystem. The woodland and desert creatures around you will appreciate that, and you should too.