Does Low-Hanging Fruit Exist?

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Photo by Lotte Löhr on Unsplash

“First, we will go after the ­low-hanging fruit.” We have all heard that comment and it makes my hair catch on fire. It is a big mistake. Do not go there. Looking for that fruit is a false hope.

Low-hanging fruit does not exist. If it ever existed, it was picked long ago. The mention of ­low-hanging fruit conjures up images of apples hanging down at eye level screaming, “Pick me, pick me!” The expectation that there are easy ways to make things change leads to disappointment when we run through the proverbial orchard and find no fruit.

Going after low­-hanging fruit implies which things we should do first. That is, pick the fruit that is easiest to reach. Bad approach. Most often, the first things that must be done are the most difficult.

Ask any fruit picker about ­low-hanging fruit. The picker will point out that the fruit at the top of the tree is ripe first and more plentiful. The return for the effort is at the top of the tree.

Selecting easy targets that require no effort reflects what we all want the world to be like. Picking a few low­-hanging things may get things started but won’t amount to much. Unless you live in an orchard, your encounters with low­-hanging fruit won’t actually come very often.

Low-hanging fruit may be appealing and easy, but it may not be the right thing to talk about or pursue. Ask Adam how it worked out for him with that ­low-hanging apple.

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