"Low Hanging Fruit" by: Dr. Sybile Val

I remember the first time my high school friend mentioned this term to me. “She lacks self-confidence,” he told me. “So instead of striving for more, she just settles on the low hanging fruit”. 

I remember laughing at the choice of words and feeling sad for her (his sister). I remember thinking it’s unfortunate, but then I moved on. Years later I looked back on some of my decisions and realized there were many times I too settled on the low hanging fruit.  

The low hanging fruit keeps you fed without too much risk. It may not be the best, the biggest or even what you truly desire, but it’s the settlement that we are willing to take or that we believe we have to take. 

How many times have I settled on low hanging fruit? As I look back on my life I realize I have done this A LOT! When my friend told me about his sister, I couldn’t really understand or relate. As I mentioned above, I literally laughed. As I’ve gotten older (and wiser I would hope), I’ve realized how important human connections are, and how important they are at helping you see who YOU are.  

When he made that statement to me, I was a surgical resident doing exactly what I believed I was suppose to be doing. He frequently told (and still tells) me how proud he is of my accomplishments. What he doesn’t know, is that I could have been better and I should be better. So why aren’t I? The same reason you aren’t...fear. Fear that I actually can have the best fruit, the whole tree and all the trees next to it. 

We all have done it. We pick the low hanging fruit when we didn’t ask for the raise, when we didn’t quit the job, when we walked away, or when we opted to simply stay. We pick the low hanging fruit when we find excuse as to why we can’t lose the weight, find that true love, or be a great this or that. We pick the low hanging fruit each time we compromise who we are meant to be to fit in the box of who we are expected to be. 

I know what you are thinking, how do you stop reaching for the low hanging fruit? 

Ok, wait for it...you just stop.  

A lot of us (like me a couple of years ago) don’t even know that we are doing this. You remember what GI Joe said right? 

“Knowing is half the battle.” 

When you know better, you do better. So, the better question is: how do you find out if you are a LFG (low fruit grabber)? Look around you. Look at your friends, replay some of your conversations, and look for the commonalities. If “I would do this but”...comes up a lot, you my friend are an LFG. If “his or her accomplishments are great but”...yup, you too are a LFG. If you constantly can’t...you may actually be the president of your LFG community. Yes, I said community because some of you have been living, functioning and thriving in LFG communities that you have helped create, that you have become a representative of, and in some cases, that you may be leading. 

So today I urge you to look around, recall some of your interactions, and truly assess who you are. If you can’t figure it out, ask a friend...better yet ask someone who is not a friend. If you really, really are ready for the answer, stand in front of the mirror, and ask her. 


Dr.  Sybile Val is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in solo private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.  She is passionate about helping her patients feel empowered during their plastic surgery journey and enjoys helping people re-connect with their inner as well as their outer beauty.  Whether its a procedure for aesthetic or reconstructive purposes, Dr. Val encourages patients to be as informed and mentally prepared as possible. 

Dr. Val is married...with children.  Her daughter Sydney is four years old, and her son Cilius is one. In her spare time, she enjoys movies, writing and theater, but she believes that nothing compares to a good laugh and hug from her husband, children or friends.  She loves living life on her terms and often says "I never thought I would be this awesome mommy/wife/doctor/friend, but here I am killing it!"

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