Lessons from the Chinese Bamboo Tree

The famous story about the Chinese Bamboo Tree. It is said that the Chinese Bamboo Tree barely grows above the ground for its first four years. After you plant its seed, during the first four years, you hardly see any growth shown above the ground, or anything happening to show its progress. Even after you continue to nurture it by watering it, give it sunshine, fertilize it, or make its soil fertile. For its first four years, it may look like you have labored in vain or you have been wasting your time, energy, resources, and other investments you have invested already.

The story tells, even though the Chinese Bamboo Tree lie dormant for its four years, but what you cannot see beneath the ground, or under the ground, this Chinese Bamboo Tree is developing its base, and establishing itself a massive rooting system that is spreading out across in every possible way. The Chinese Bamboo Tree has learned the secret that most of us don’t know that it must establish its base first, its foundation first in order to be able to sustain its life when it grows.

So during the first, second, third, and fourth year; The Chinese Bamboo Tree concentrates on rooting its base, its foundation. But in the fifth year, after it has established itself under the ground, it rises up! It is said, in one year, in its fifth year, this Chinese Bamboo Tree exponentially grow above the ground from zero to as high as 80 feet long after six weeks. That one year alone, during its sixth week, in its fifth year, it grows exponentially to reach its full potential of about 80 feet long. Amazing.

I know it may sound like a folktale if we have to compare with our real lives. Someone may say, “Helen, what are you talking about? I have been doing like this Chinese Bamboo Tree, and I’m reaching my tenth year now waiting for this exponential growth?” But still, there are lessons we can learn about this amazing Chinese Bamboo Tree concerning our human potential on success, whether it is personal growth and change, or professional in business and career growth.

  • Patience combined with Persistence

There is this saying by Aristotle that says, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Therefore, if we can be able to enduring the bitter part, we can be rewarded with its fruit, or the good results, which is sweet. With the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree, we learned that if we continue with patience and persistence, in due season we will see the fruits of our hard work whether in our personal growth, or business growth, we need to keep persisting and as we establish our base and foundation, we need to stay positive and patience, even if we don’t see any progression of growth on the surface. During that process we develop strong characters, good habits, we develop our skills and talents, and all that necessary for us to become who we want to become. If its business, it can be as we keep developing our brands identities, our niches and bases, our competitive advantages, as if we are spreading our roots within the surface. Remember that out of our trials, tribulations, even temptations, challenges, hard work and toil, it’s where our characters and strengths are developed. It takes years of hard work, efforts, and persistence to build something worthwhile with strong and proper foundations that will last for decades, or for really long time. So we must persist if we want to see exponential growth or be able to live to our full potential.

  • Maturity stage

Richard Branson said, “Chance favors the prepared mind. The more you practice, the luckier you become.” Success favors the prepared minds. We learn from the Chinese Bamboo tree, if it hadn’t developed its strong unseen foundations, it wouldn’t have been able to rise above all these challenges while was still under the ground. As it grows and rooted upward, it shows that it has matured, and therefore it attracts or makes the opportunities it needs. To every stage, there is a maturity or ripeness stage. Charles Swindoll said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Sometimes our most disguised impossible situations can be our alarms and stepping stones to live to our full potentials. We also learn from the Chinese Bamboo Tree, our challenges, if we continue to persist they can help us make progress toward our goals. They can provide that fire and build that resistance and strength that we need to move upward. For us Christians for instance, how will we know if we have the fruit of The Holy Spirit if we have not been gone through certain things to test us and see if we are patient, kind, loving, self-controlled, and et cetera (Galatian 5:22)? How can we say we are overcomers if we haven’t had any obstacles in our lives to overcome? Depending on your situation, depending on your niche, nature of your business, or personal development plan, we may not need to wait until the fifth year to see your exponential growth like the Chinese Bamboo Tree, but it will come time you also will start growing and reach your peak season.


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