Few days ago, while chatting with my elder brother, he brought up this story. Even though, the Chinese bamboo tree story was to encourage someone else but since then I’ve not stopped thinking about it. There are just so many powerful lessons from the Chinese bamboo tree story that I think everyone should know about it. It cuts across every area of life! Be it education, relationships, business, if you meditate on it and apply to every area of your life, growth will be inevitable.

What’s special about the Chinese bamboo?

This plant takes 5 years to start growing!

John Dabrowski

The Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t break through the ground for the first four years. See, like other plants once you plant it, you need to water it, nurture it, and fertilize it every day. But unlike other plants nothing happens the first year. You do the same thing the next year, and still nothing happens. That’s right, for 4 good long years, you see no results! Can you try to picture that right now? There’s no proof of progress. If I’m the farmer, I may start to doubt that I actually planted something.

But there’s good news, because in the 5th year things begin to happen. They don’t just happen, they happen real fast. In just 5 weeks, the Chinese bamboo tree can grow till about 27 meters! It’s almost as if you can actually see the tree growing before your very eyes.

Lessons
  • To succeed, you need a lot of faith, believe and patience. Faith in yourself and your abilities. All bamboo tree planters know and believe that the tree will grow in 5 years. They just do what they have to do while waiting for the right time for the tree to grow. Do not allow your mood or circumstances around you derail you from your goal. People will criticize and doubt you. To be honest, you can’t blame them (obviously they haven’t heard the Chinese bamboo story yet). Don’t give in to the nay saying.
  • Keep watering and nurturing the seed. For the Chinese bamboo tree to grow in 5 years, it needs to be watered and nurtured. For 4 years there’s no sign of growth but however, the planter keeps watering and nurturing. Don’t stop working on yourself even though it feels like it’s not working. Learn a skill, improve your character, work on that project etc just do what you have to do. In due time, you will be rewarded. It takes small actions everyday to get a major goal.
  • Build a solid foundation in order to survive in the harshest conditions for many, many years. Truth is, like other trees without the solid foundation, it might grow in the beginning. However, in the long run, it might not be able to support the size and long life.

Related: Keep on Keeping On

Examples of bamboo tree planters in real life
  1. Albert Einstein

As a child he didn’t start speaking until he was four, reading until he was seven, and was thought to be mentally handicapped. Yet, he grew up to be one of the first people whose name pops up when you think of physics

2. Vincent Van Gogh

An artist whom throughout his lifetime,  sold just one painting, ‘The Red Vineyard’. But nowadays one of his paintings can cause $100 million. Literally, his work finally paid off, it’s rather unfortunate he didn’t enjoy it himself.

3. Richard Hooker

Richard Hooker had to water his bamboo tree for seven years and through 21 rejections by publishers until his humorous war novel, M*A*S*H became a runaway bestseller, spawning a movie and one of the longest-running television series of all-time. ( source: JD mind coach)