The Story of the Bamboo

Like any plant, growth of the Chinese Bamboo tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. Our patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, watering, etc.) will ever be rewarded. And finally in the fifth year – behold, a miracle! We experience growth – and what growth it is – 80 feet in just six weeks!

But let’s be serious, does the bamboo really grow 80 feet in six weeks, or does it actually take five years for this sudden burst of activity?

The bamboo, an analogy to our own experience with personal growth and change. Never easy, slow to show any progress, frustrating and unrewarding at times, but worth it, if we can be patient and persistent. This is the critical variable in attaining new skills – in developing ourselves.

  • It is our ability to stay persistent even when we are unable to see any growth on the surface.
  • Can we stay focused and continue to believe in what we are doing even when we don’t see immediate results? In a culture driven by instant gratification – this is our biggest challenge. As we tell our children, remember to ‘Keep trying! And NEVER give up!’

The change may be slow – even invisible at times – but suddenly, as in the case of the bamboo, we will surprise ourselves. Keep your faith in this important work. And as Calvin Coolidge has said, “Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.”

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.