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Inspiring Thoughts from EAC

We Can Learn From the Trees in the Forest

On January 29, 2016, The New York Times published an article titled Germany Ranger Finds Trees Have Social Networks, Too.  This fascinating article highlights the life work of PETER WOHLLEBEN and his recent book, “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World”. I use the term fascinating because Wohlleben points out that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots. Apparently, scientists have long been aware of this information and now, thanks to Wohlleben’s book, so is the general public.

So, if trees in the forest are that connected, it stands to reason that humans at work are connected in a similar way. Think about it; we readily come to the aid of a colleague who is ill or has suffered a loss.  We support causes like the United Way or Toys for Tots. Connectedness is Mother Nature’s antidote to stress.  We have informal communication networks that share important information, like a well- deserved promotion or the chance of a layoff. The challenge we have as humans is to keep our connections positive.  We are, by nature, hardwired to be on the lookout for danger.  When we hear bad news, especially at work, we have a tendency to play one of two mind games: “Gosh ain’t it awful?” or “Whose fault is it?” Neither of these activities helps solve problems. They only serve to create more tension and distrust.  What if we learned to play a new mind game called “There must be a reason?” There always is a reason for someone’s behavior.  We may not agree with the reason or like the reason, but talking about people and placing blame will not render a solution.  They only serve to make matters worse.  How about it?  Are you willing to play along?  Post your response here.

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