Design Your life With Permaculture 9: Use small and slow solutions

Josh Davis
Wednesday, 22nd February 2017

Using small and slow solutions will help you create the changes you want to see in your daily life.

Very few things in nature happen instantaneously. Things take time. If you stand in a forest it looks like nothing is happening but it is always growing, always changing. The changes are small and slow, but constant, and with this constant evolution, big, sustainable shifts happen.

When you are adapting and implementing changes into your own lifestyle from these principles be prepared that this is not going to be immediate. It is very important to appreciate that all of these things take time and to not give yourself a hard time if you do not see results straight away. The key thing to remember is that you have started the journey to change your lifestyle.

If you are trying to change jobs and become self employed the permaculture solution is not to quit your job immediately and spend time figuring out what you will do with your free time the next day. As with using the model to work with nature, the best steps are to observe your current situation, see what works best for you, and then look to implement small changes that over time will lead to a much larger shift.

If you clear cut the forest in the hope of growing a food forest you will find the integral small parts of the system, the soil, water retention, erosion cause much larger issues. Your lifestyle is no different. Quitting straight away and try to work it out may lead to financial insecurity, stress, and frustrations. Equally, attempting to run a marathon before you’ve run 5km would most likely result in injury and an unpleasant few hours. Planning small steps to create a larger change will be more sustainable and healthier in the long term. 

With that being said, there are instances when the natural world takes a more dramatic approach. In desperate situations when the original design has not worked, the forest sometimes opts for a reset. Forest fires force change and large scale redesign. In our lives this could relate to separating from a long term partner or taking the approach of quitting our jobs with no plan, sometimes the reset is needed. While this option serves a purpose for certain circumstances, unless absolutely necessary, opting for the slower, more mindful process will result in more enjoyment and a stronger, healthier final outcome in the long term.

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Josh Davis is an outdoor educator and facilitator exploring ways we can learn from the natural world. He offers one on one coaching and consulting to help design your life from permaculture. 

You can find out more at

For more ideas about designing your life with permaculture

People and Permaculture and 7 Ways to Think Differently by Looby Macnamara

Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design by Stephan Geyer



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