Lessons From The Chinese Bamboo Tree

One of the stories that really touched my heart is the Chinese Bamboo Tree story. The growth of the Chinese Bamboo tree is so phenomenal that it teaches us a lot about human potential and development. It is a miracle.

The growth starts from a seed, just like every other plant or crop. The Chinese Bamboo tree needs to be watered and nurtured everyday otherwise it will die off. Unlike so many other crops that sprout within weeks of sowing – providing food within months but provide nothing for the future; the Chinese Bamboo tree provides hopes for the future. After 1 year of planting, nothing sprouts. The second year goes by, the third year, and even by the fourth year, nothing grows above the soil. The Chinese Bamboo tree tests the patience, perseverance, and efforts of the sower to the extreme. The ability to continue to diligently wait and hope that his effort will yield results someday without getting angry.

Eventually, after five years of pouring water and fertilising, a miracle happened. The Chinese Bamboo tree sprouts, it starts to grow, and in six weeks – as in just 6 weeks, the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to 90 feet tall. Five years of nothing and now, 90 feet in just six weeks. This is just nothing but a miracle.

Now the question is this, does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow up to 90 feet in six weeks? Did the Chinese Bamboo Tree lie inactive for four years only to grow miraculously in the fifth year? The answer is, obviously, evident. If the tree had not grown a strong concealed foundation over the years it could not have sustained the ‘sudden’ growth in just 6 weeks. This is true for the human being as well. People, who persevere in their quest for success, who remain disciplined in the face of adversity and difficulty, develop the foundational strength (root) to handle their accomplishment.

I will itemise four of the lessons learnt from the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree. While the lessons are not new, most of the time these soft skills lie dormant in individuals unless actively acted upon.

Consistency: This a vital lesson from the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree, the ability to act in a particular way over a period of time in order to achieve an accurate outcome. If you take a cross-section of highly successful people, you will find a set of consistent individuals. It was reported of Mutiu Adepoju, one of the most steady mid-fielders of the super eagles (the Nigerian national team), he gained consistency in the use of his head during soccer games to the extent that he took advantage of most of the aerial balls on the field of play. As a result, Mutiu Adepoju built a reputation as a scorer of goals with his head which gave him the nickname – headmaster. Great people do rightly the same thing over and over again with a great level of enthusiasm.

Consistency builds discipline and consistent disciplines lead to success.

Successful multi-level marketing professionals always have the same pitch every time. They are highly consistent. They tell the same story over and over and over again. They do not change their story; they only change the people they tell it to.

Remember that you cannot be in control of random activities; else you will have inconsistent results. I employ you to consistently care for your Chinese Bamboo tree (career, business, hobby, sports etc.) Do the same things over and over and when it doesn’t work, make the changes and do it over and over again. Consistency will make you successful.

Perseverance: The second important lesson from the Chinese Bamboo tree story is perseverance. Perseverance talks about the commitment to doing something despite the level of difficulty or delay in achieving success.The strategic process of developing perseverance as a habit is to take small steps towards a goal, resulting in small achievement. Small achievements most times lead to a big success. I remember when I learned how to swim. I made many attempts to attain competence in swimming; it was my perseverance that led me to succeed in learning how to swim.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all” Dale Carnegie

There is no shortcut to success. The road to success is a slow and precarious journey sometimes. It takes discipline to continue on the journey until success is attained. Always remember that you can achieve just anything you set your mind to, all you need is velocity, persistence, and the resolution to face your doubts.

Discipline: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards. The story of the Chinese Bamboo tree talks about the daily discipline of giving water for five straight years. Learn to do the daily things that will make your dream come true. As my mentor rightly said, Success is forming the habit of daily disciplines towards achieving your goals. Do not ignore to do those daily disciplines otherwise, failure is guaranteed. Being disciplined is the ability to reject instant pleasure and immediate gratification and embrace long-term happiness and fulfilment from achieving higher and more results. There are several disciplines that you need to achieve unprecedented results.  One of such is the discipline of goals.  Clearly think and write the list of the things you desire to achieve over time.  This can be structured into the different areas of your life; career, business, finance, family, travel, health etc. There are other vital daily disciplines, develop a daily routine that will help you achieve your identified area of improvement.

Faith: Faith is having complete trust or confidence in something. Just like the farmer believes that the Chinese Bamboo tree is going to thrive, believe in yourself, have faith, and you will be able to succeed in life no matter what the circumstance is.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” Norman Vincent Peale

Those who have faith in their dreams, goals and purpose in life do not permit anything to get in their way. Faith empowers you to overcome every impediment on your track to accomplishment. Napoleon Hill described such faith as a “burning desire” which absolutely nothing could stop.If you have faith in yourself and in your abilities you will do great. If you have faith in God, you will do wonders. And just like Dr Martin Luther King Jr.said “Take the first step in faith; you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Faith plays an important role in being successful. Life itself is full of difficulties. Although you may not be able to choose most of your circumstances, you can choose to have unshakeable faith. If you have faith, you will begin to focus on possibilities, instead of impossibilities.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford.

There are several lessons to learn from the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree, four of which I have highlighted above. Dare to succeed.

Pete Omotosho


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