What my rusty push mower taught me about perseverance.

Dave in the long long lawn.

Dave in the long long lawn.

Every Saturday I do the same thing.

Pull on my red op-shop boardshorts, squash a cap on my skull and stride into the backyard with purpose.

I stand with feet hip-width, surveying the lawn: a patchy pre-teen beard with renegade tendrils and bald bits.




The previous tenants left us a push mower as a gift in the back shed, and after the initial warm fuzzies, I came to suspect that their generosity was enlarged by the mower’s undeniable uselessness.

It rips, tears and flattens.

It rolls, squeaks and snags.

It makes a sound like a mechanical sheep, bleating in distress.

Yet every weekend I wheel it out and take to the grass like a beautician, possessed.

I must manicure, trim, make beautiful.

Surely one of these Saturdays, it’ll work?

But every time, the same result.

Rip, tear, flatten.

Roll, squeak, snag.

When I’ve finished clanging and stuttering my way over the lawn, I grab the rake to consolidate the clippings into neat piles.

Only, there are no clippings, just embattled stalks - crazed and leaning and tattered after another weekend assault. They grow stronger, thicker, more tenacious each time.

I end up getting down on my knees with scissors and beheading a few tufts for effect.

Days pass, it rains, it’s sunny, the grass goes nuts, next Saturday arrives and I’m re-possessed by the spirit of garden maintenance.

You seeing the pattern here?

The strange thing is, this Saturday my brainless perseverance paid off.

The bloody push mower worked.

The conditions were right.

The grass was dry.

There were fewer twigs to stunt rotor function.

And I’d learned how to push it at just the right speed and precisely the right pressure to generate maximum twirl.

Chrrrr chrrr chrrr chrrrr.

Repetition and perseverance delivered, and I enjoyed a moment of blinking satisfaction as I looked at my close-shaven lawn.

So I applied the lesson to life and business - because you gotta capitalise on this profound horticultural shit.

Repetition and perseverance.

Skills you can’t seem to master; ideas that won’t ignite; impenetrable roadblocks - sometimes, with enough chip chip chipping away, suddenly open up. Catch fire. Just flippin happen. When the conditions are right. When you’ve imperceptibly shifted your skillz up a notch.

Repetition and perseverance.

So, keep pushing.

Go back for more.

Stick with the thing that feels like it *should* be working, but isn’t - at least, not yet.

Get out there, daily, in your gardening dungarees.

Expect that your business, idea, strange dream that no one understands, is one day gonna whir and hum and generate interest.

And sometime in the future, after all that effort, your rusty push mower will work.

You’ll gain traction.

Your idea or business or crazy dream will grab hold.

You’ll cut through.

(Failing that, there’s always a Bunnings within 5kms).