This summer our family took a trip to Bear Lake (UT/ID) and visited the amazing Minnetonka Caves. A walk through the cave allows you to see some of the most amazing stalactites and stalagmites in the West.
Beautiful structures that take thousands of years to form.
How is such beauty created?
By one small drop of water. Day after day. Minute after minute. For thousands of years.
In fact, as you stand in the cave you can get hit by drops of water as the structures are literally forming before your eyes.
At a rate of about 10cm (about 4 inches) every 1,000 years!
It is so freaking slow!
Just drip after drip after drip.
It is beautiful to see!
Just writing about it is boring.
BAHHHH! Now I’m awake.
In the same neck of the woods, there was a significantly different water experience that happened in 1976.
On June 5th of that year a dam, known as the Teton Dam on the Teton River in Idaho failed.
On 7:30 AM of that day a small muddy leak appeared on the dam. By 11:57 AM the entire right side of the dam had collapsed and 2,000,000 cubic feet per second of water poured out, causing destruction and devastation.
The nearby town of Rexburg was hit hard with 2/3rds of its population struck homeless in one day.
The Federal Government paid out over $300 million in claims with total damages estimates at $2 billion.
Not boring to watch that. The terrible and destructive power of the same water that forms the beautiful Minnetonka Caves.
A couple lessons learned from the power of water.
Lesson 1: we like fast and easy.
We all want life to be fast like the breaking of a dam. We want that rush of excitement and power.
We want to get from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds.
Lesson 2: that almost never happens.
That’s the challenge. The dam break of 1976 is so memorable because it almost never happens.
Rarely in history does 2,000,000 cubic feet per second of water come pouring out.
And that is good!
The same is true in your life.
Life-altering experiences are few and far between.
And I think we want it that way! We wouldn’t want crazy, and unpredictable things to happen to us. Some would be amazing, some would be devastating, and we are just not built for that.
We are built for consistent.
Lesson 3: Growth comes from consistency.
I was stuck as I stood in the Minnetonka cave as the process of creation happening right before me.
The dam breaking was a process of destruction. It was fast, it was furious, it was intense.
Creation is slow, consistent, almost boring.
Think of some examples.
• If you started with $100 and grew that by 1% a day. That’s just $1 on the first day! By the end of one year, you would have over$3,700 and at the end of 2 years over $140,000. All from consistent 1% growth.
• If you did 100 push ups a day, you could do 100,000 push-ups in under 3 years.
• If you read for just 30 minutes a day, you could read more than 40 books a year.
• How many lives would you change with 3 thank you cards a week? How would the world be different with over 150 positive messages sent out?
• How much different would the world be with 1 text of gratitude a day?
• Think of the impact on your mental health from just 10 minutes a day of meditation.
Lesson 4: Life isn’t the flood. It’s the drip
That is the key. Whatever it is you want to create—and especially if you want to create a happy life—it is about the drip, drip, drip boringness of small consistency.
No one is an overnight success.
No happy life is created with one GIANT act.
Happiness is the 10cm every 1,000 years process of creation.
A happy life is created. All creation is slow, intentional, even boring.
The key is, you have to do it every day…even, and especially, when you don’t feel like it.
Whatever you are doing through today. Drip on.
Whatever challenge you are facing. Drip on.
Whatever the hurt is. Drip through it.
Creation is in the drips.
Happiness is in the drips.
One small act at a time.
One small piece of love and charity at a time.