What you pay attention to grows

A short story about the squirrels living in our garden.

In the photo you see our son. Enthusiastically, he bangs against the windows when a squirrel recognizes him in the morning. He – our son – is a little over a year old and speaks a handful of words. Yet, he already understands much more than that. When we say “squirrel”, he will look expectantly in the direction of the garden.

Precisely one day before he was born a little early, my girlfriend and I moved into our current home. A house with a beautiful garden.

When we first moved in, we occasionally saw a squirrel in the distance, high up in the trees. Not much later I bought my girlfriend two small wooden houses, a rope bridge and a set of baskets containing nuts. It took her a little while to get used to my unusual gift.

Over the next couple of months, we faithfully filled the feeders with squirrel food. At first we saw how birds enjoyed the squirrel food in our garden. And very occasionally we would see a squirrel in our garden. We learned that walnuts are a squirrel’s favorite. And that it is best to place the houses a bit higher in the tree and not facing the (south) west.


Today – a little over a year later – we tend to see one or two squirrels in our garden every morning after waking up. Often less than a foot away, merely separated by the window glass. From the looks of it, we have some regulars: Big Freek, Little Freek and Chip.

This week a squirrel showed itself for the first time during a coaching session – causing me to decide to write this piece.

“What you pay attention to grows.”


When you want to achieve something, you will increase your chances infinitely by investing time, love and attention in it. The books ‘The talent code‘ and ‘Grit‘ (read them!) will teach you that people aren’t born with a huge amount of a particular talent. Excellence is the result of investing lots of time, love and attention.

Quite often there is not a lack of the right intentions to get started with what matters to us most. But a lack of focus.

Now imagine there is enough focus, time, love and attention available to you. What aspects in your life would you like to grow and develop?