3 Bonsai Lessons that Can Help with the New Year and Beyond

It’s that time of the year again, when I become contemplative about many things, what else do you do when it’s dark and cold outside and you’re forced to stay inside.  I intentionally scheduled no work between Christmas and New Year and take some time off.  I was hoping to catch my breath before 2017 arrives.  During this time off,  I finally moved into my new office  (Dec 23rd) after about 21 months since my office project started.  I was going to do a Facebook post of the before and after photos but instead I want to take the opportunity to share a life lesson once again.  And why on my bonsai blog? That’s because in addition to thanking God for everything,  bonsai play a big part.  Stay with me a little and I will make that connection between my new office and bonsai.  Bonsai is a great teacher but as a student one must be in tune with the lessons.  These simple lessons could help in the new year and beyond.

My office became an idea when my wife practically (kicked me out) of the room that we used to share as an office.  She work from home and we use to share one of the room in our house.  It work for a little while until she got more computers and need to be left alone while working.  So I used our dining table as my temporary work space but as you might imagine, that’s not necessarily the most efficient way to run a business.

In March 2015 one of my clients was going to throw away an old storage shed.  I decided to salvage it and turn it into my new office away from our main house (in the backyard).  Slowly but surely using repurposed materials such as salvaged old windows, the old shed was given a new life and will now become my new office.   This Christmas weekend, I was setting it up and hung a piece of artwork/saying on the wall that my wife gave me during our 24th year anniversary this year that said “The Secret to Having It All is Believing that You Already Do.”  At first, I hesitated hanging this because it didn’t  go with the décor I had in mind, but I did anyway because it was from my wife and didn’t want to end up sleeping in my office permanently as well.  Well, what do you know, that fit on the wall perfectly.  After looking at it for a while, the saying is very appropriate for my office.  I created an office (with the help of my crew of course) out of something that was practically garbage by others.  Believing I had something valuable, somehow it materialized to something valuable with small but consistent effort.

Reflecting  back at this project, a lot of the lessons learned relate back to lessons I learned from bonsai.  Here are the lessons and I hope this may also help you in the coming year and beyond:


In bonsai, one must appreciate the small things.   Obviously bonsai is small.  What I mean is to practice appreciating everything even the smallest thing.  For me I get excited of a small leaf coming out of a branch or even a seed sprouting.   This relates to the principle of gratitude.  Be thankful of what you have and appreciate all of what life has to offer.  Appreciate the sun shining, leaf changing color.  A principle that one must possess or acquire with bonsai.  Once you learn this, you begin to appreciate more things in life and you will see how abundant life really is.   It took a little bit of imagination for me to appreciate an old shed but by doing so, I created value to this shed.


This is a very important lesson I think that now a days many must learn to incorporate in their lives.  We live in a world where we value shiny, unblemished, and perfect things.  Unfortunately though, this could sometimes hinder us.  I’m very guilty at this sometimes, by saying I’m not going to start this project until the “perfect” moment comes or this project must be completely perfect.  We wait for that perfect moment which seems to be always in the future and we never get it done.  This office would have taken even much longer if I wanted to make the drywall perfect or the floor perfect.  I decided that I can live with the imperfections and move on.  I learned in bonsai that imperfection or oddity  is part of the beauty of a tree.  Bonsai teach us to accept imperfections and learn how to actually show it to enhance the tree’s beauty.   Learn to accept imperfections, you’ll be much happier and possibly accomplish more.


Within the 21 months from the start of the project, the shed/office sat idle for a few months until more time is spent on it.   In any project and in life for that matter, it’s very easy to get bogged down, loose interest, slow down, and even quit altogether.  One thing I learned from bonsai, is to do things in small steps but in a consistent manner.  It works for handling large projects.  The famous saying comes to mind ” How do you eat an elephant?  …. one bite at a time.”  Some bonsai can take a long time to develop but they become a beautiful tree because someone took all those little steps to make them beautiful.  With my office project, all together, it’s a big effort, considering I’ve never built a small house before. But doing something a little bit at a time was helpful.  Deciding to continue to work on the project whenever there’s a small window of time, eventually, the project gets done.

Thank you for reading.  Have a prosperous new year!  Would love to hear your thoughts or comments.


This was the old shed before it was taken apart.  Ceiling was lower.
Wish I had taken more photos.  This was the inside of the old shed.  I used the walls to start the wall.  It was only about 7′ 6″ tall.  Some of the bottom wood were rotten.
Here’s the foundation when we started.  Nothing fancy.
The office with the wall higher.  All those windows came from an apartment office that was going to be demolished.


Side, again the windows are repurposed.


I wanted to give it a modern look.
Still not perfect but that can be refined later.


Wiring goes all the way back to my house panel.
This photo shows the other side of the office with the sliding door that I salvage from someone.  I saw this doors just sitting in front of someone’s house while driving by.  I stopped to talk to the owner and he gave it to me for free.
Here is a photo taken on Christmas Day.  See my little daughter sitting inside putting together the Lego set she got for Christmas.  The landscaping is a future project on the pipeline.
Here’s the inside with the sign my wife gave me.  It fit just right on the wall.  I will put something below that so it doesn’t look like it’s way up there.
Here’s my foldable drawing table.  My brother gave this to me long ago.  I was going to replace it with something new but I refinished it and fixed it.  Now it’s good as new.
Here’s the sign again.
I will be facing a big window which I like because I like a lot of light.  I also installed an industrial LED light above which puts out 10,000 lumens.  It lights up the room like sunshine.  I can do my bonsai here nicely.  I do have another light fixture above that’s more for mood lighting when I want the mood to be more calm.
Here’s another shot.  I put a wood burl at the bottom to hide my imperfect carpentry.




Published by tony bonsaiko

My little trees are my daily reminders of our grand connection to this beautiful and mysterious universe.

One thought on “3 Bonsai Lessons that Can Help with the New Year and Beyond

Leave a Reply