Design Your life With Permaculture 11: Use edges and value marginal

Josh Davis
Friday, 3rd March 2017

Learning to use the edges and value marginal within your life can help create a wider social circle and give you more confidence by challenging yourself.

The edge of the forest is where you find the most diversity, the most wildlife and the most growth. It is where pioneer species thrive, whose job it is to prepare and create the right environment for the other species to take hold. Look at the wildlife in the hedgerows of fields compared to the species in the fields, the edge of the forest compared to deep inside. The forest is always looking to expand and grow beyond its current boundaries.

We can take this approach to all areas of our life. From reaching out to new opportunities, meeting new people and stepping outside our comfort zone. We have all at some point or other stepped outside our comfort zone in work, social environments, or physical achievements. It is when we do this that we grow, learn and develop the most. It is crucial to understand and push your boundaries to help you grow and develop as an individual.

Physically - Look at ways to push your physical limits. This can be in any number of formats that work for you. It could be running 5km or 50km. It doesn't matter how far you push yourself only that you are pushing what you believe you can achieve. Once you do this and achieve that first goal your horizons expand and you will try greater things. It doesn’t just apply to running, it could be being able to touch your toes, climb a mountain, commuting to work on your bike. Observe and work out where the edge of your comfort zone is and look at how you can challenge and expand it, and then do it again.

Socially - Discover ways to expand your social circle. How can you reach out and meet new people. It could be joining a local group, or introducing yourself to your neighbours. Look at ways you can encourage interaction with new people. When we mix with new groups of people and make new friends we become richer as we are exposed to new opinions and views, we also gain a larger network of people we can rely on.

Mentally - Do things that scare you. If an opportunity comes up but it seems intimidating do not be put off by this. Challenging ourselves in this way is an important part of growing. If something scares you do not see it as an opportunity to fail but an opportunity to learn and grow.

People - Do not be afraid to be someone who does not fit the mould and is different to the norm. The people on the edge of society, those that think differently are the ones that create real change. If you have different ideas, like alternative music, dress uniquely, don’t be discouraged. Embrace living differently and on the edge.

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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