We have access to instant information, music and books.

We buy fast food through the drive-thru.

We beep at the car in front of us as soon as the light turns green.

Resolutions to problems or relationships are expected instantly.

We want to see immediate results related to the turnaround of our economy, despite the fact that it took years to get to this state.

If a soccer coach is put in place and doesn’t demonstrate an immediate turn-around, they take a walk through the revolving door and someone new is put in place.

Unfortunately, we try to live our fast paced lifestyle in what is naturally a slow paced world.

A good lesson on this subject is the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree.

It seems that this tree when planted, watered, and nurtured for an entire growing season doesn’t outwardly grow as much as an inch.

You water it and nurture it and nothing coming up from the ground.

Then, after the second growing season, a season in which the farmer takes extra care to water, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree, the tree still hasn’t sprouted.

So it goes as the sun rises and sets for four solid years.

Four years of watering and nurturing and nothing comes out of the ground.

Often people give up after a month, three months, a year or two years when they invest in something and nothing comes.

Entrepreneurs give up on their journey when nothing after two years.

The farmer has nothing tangible to show for all of his labor trying to grow the tree for four years.

Then, along comes year five.

In the fifth year that Chinese bamboo tree seed finally sprouts and the bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet in just one growing season! Or so it seems….

Did the little bamboo tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth?

Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?

The answer is, of course, obvious. It took the tree five years to grow. The first four years it was growing underground, quietly and unseen.

Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew.

The same is true for entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs who patiently work on building their businesses, working hard, quietly, away from the fanfare of speaking platforms and awards ceremonies, not being recognised or put on magazine covers but quietly building a strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow a strong internal foundation.

Had the Chinese bamboo farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth.

Nothing happens in the initial stages of your business, nothing. You water, nurture, care, invest time and resources and nothing much happens for four years.

A lot of people give up along the way.

Two lessons a have learned from the Bamboo tree strong:

First: Success does not come right away.

When you have poured in the hard work and dedicated a lot of your time to your goals and dreams, it does not mean that you will get to see the result immediately.

Success takes time.

Second: Build a strong foundation.

The bamboo tree can never grow to 80 feet tall if it did not grow its root deep into the ground for the first few years. And the same applies to your life.

Spend time to build a strong foundation.

This is especially important if your goals are big and your dreams are beyond your current level.

The deeper the foundation, the taller the building.

The size of the problems does not matter, what truly matters is the size of you.



One thought on “Start: The Chinese Bamboo Story, a lesson in patience

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