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Focusing Productivity: The Garden Hose Philosophy Part I

Posted on December 9, 2009 by Sean

Our lives are garden hoses, long, coiled conduits whose utilitarian value lies solely in their output. While it is important to closely monitor what comes in to each, a cursory Google search found approximately zero statistics associated with garden hose input, or for that matter, storage capacity. Our lives, like garden hoses, are designed for one use: action.

Focusing Productivity: The Garden Hose Philosophy

It is wildly unimportant to evaluate the amount of water a garden hose can contain. We measure the usefulness of a garden hose by its demonstrated performance and reliability. Our lives are much the same way; while there are dozens of higher-species dynamics at play, our lives are evaluated (professionally, physically, relationally – even spiritually) by what comes FROM them rather than what comes into them. A push and pull, tug-of-war between input and output. Any nurturing or care taken during the inputting stage is done wholly to improve the expected output.



  1. A man diets and exercises (input) to feel and look better (output.)

  2. A woman enrolls in graduate school (input) to increase self-confidence and professional opportunities (output.) – If the learned information does not guide new decisions or bear fruit within her life, she is, by our measure, unsuccessful.

  3. An investor purchases stock in a company (input) because he believes in the success of the company, and the eventual growth and profit of the stock (output.)

The largest, most expensive garden hose is useless unless it reliably and consistently facilitates the output of water. Similarly, a decade of medical school might add a few initials to your name and might even land you a job at your local hospital, but the second you do not perform (output) is probably the same second you’re terminated – hospitals tend to be very serious about output.

So often we pride ourselves in our potential, in our latent intellect - It might be wise to understand that a valuable life isn’t the one that consumes, but the one that gives, produces, and, like a garden hose – pours itself into the world.

Just pouring isn’t enough. This is part 1 of 2 in the Garden Hose series. My next blog will discuss why your output must be refined in order to reach your maximum distance.


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