The Tree and Its Fruits
“Water the fruit trees and don’t water the thorns.”
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.”
That one was from St. Luke and it’s only one of the many quotes where tree and fruits are used figuratively to bring not only beauty to an idea that a writer or a speaker wishes to convey but also emphasis and clarity.
Obviously, the “tree” in that bible verse refers to you and me. And what about the fruits? Well, they are our thoughts, words, and actions and their outcomes. Could there be other fruits? I believe there’s none. The things we think, say, and do and their eventual consequences or results are the fruits of the tree that we are. There’s nothing else that would come from us through which we can be judged or valued as a person.
We think (consciously or subconsciously) first before we say or do something. I refer to it as the “think-say-do” process. After processing in our minds an idea or a situation (or any other kind of stimulus) then we decide what actions to take or words to say thereafter. That’s our response. You may call it decision.
“Each tree is recognized by its own fruits.” Thus, you should be careful of what you think and the decision you make afterward. They are manifestations of the kind of person that you are… and they do have consequences or results. I don’t know if there can be an argument against that assertion.
You have a first hand knowledge of how you think and decide. You are aware of the kind of fruits you produce. What about their outcomes? The fruits you bear results to the reputation you built for yourself in the community where you belong and among your colleagues, peers, friends and loved ones. Imagine reputation as the basket where your fruits – the decisions you made in the past – are stored. What people say (and think) about you is your reputation. Your reputation is the consequence of your speech and actions.
There are times that even if you say and do good, even when we try our best to make the right decisions all the time, some people will treat you negatively. Don’t mind them. Their reactions are boomerangs that would harm them not you.
Whatever you have accomplished at this stage in your life are also consequences of your past decisions. Your resume is also a basket of the fruits you produced. If people would scrutinize your resume, what would they see? What they see are your fruits. Success is one big and ripe apple in the apple tree. It is the end goal of all our personal and professional pursuits.
But there’s a fruit sweeter than success – happiness. That’s what simple people with simple dreams who don’t have a curriculum vitae to show try to grow in their tree. You would even hear people with grand dreams say that they aim for success because they want to be happy. Their success is the source of their happiness while for the simple folks I mentioned earlier, it’s the simplicity of their life and desires that makes them happy.
Reputation, success, and happiness – the products of the decisions you made – are the fruits of the tree you become.
The kind of fruits you would bear depends on the kind of tree you grow into. If you are a good tree then definitely good fruits will spring out of your branches and twigs.
You should know that you have control of the process of becoming who you are. Yes, no one else is in control of it. We call that process self-improvement. The tree that would sprout from that transformation is your “best self.”
Only when you become your “best self” that you will start bearing the good fruits.
The journey into becoming your “best self” begins with one simple step – the rejection of any excuse to not become the tree you wish to be and bear the fruit that you desire.
Education comes next. We nourish the tree called “self” through education. And it’s going to be long and tedious. It’s actually lifelong. Remember what Aristotle said, “The roots of education is bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” But with education, I don’t mean just formal schooling. Schools are not the only place where learning can be had. Learning comes in many shapes and forms.
Learning makes your better than you were yesterday.
Sometimes we feel discouraged when all the efforts we are putting into self-improvement is seemingly not bearing fruits. We need to be patient. Rousseau tell us that patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet. To that Moliere added, “The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”
There’s one more fruit that your tree would eventually bear – wisdom. You know it’s there when you come to a realization that the growing of the tree is more exciting than harvesting its fruits. What you will become – your best self – is beyond your reputation, more glittery than success, and more overwhelming than happiness.