There is a parable of the Chinese bamboo tree, a true story that teaches us lessons about patience, faith, perseverance, growth, development and, most importantly, human potential.
This tree grows in various countries, especially China, but I saw some in Puerto Rico when I was given an all-expenses-paid trip there. As the driver drove our group to our next stop, I remember looking out at the forest of bamboo trees, wondering if they were the real thing. They were!
I read an online article titled “What I Learned from the Chinese Bamboo Tree,” about how plentiful bamboo tree forests are in Puerto Rico. I saw them with my own eyes during my trip.
Like any plant, the Chinese bamboo tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine- to flourish. In the first year, there are no visible signs of activity or development. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. And the third and fourth, still no signs. Patience is tested, and we begin to wonder if our efforts will ever be rewarded.
Finally, in the fifth year – voila! There is growth, and what growth it is! The Chinese bamboo tree grows 80-90 feet tall (nearly 30 m) in just six weeks! Those of you who become impatient and want things right now simply don’t believe and trust that God is working underground, doing things you don’t even know about; you will miss out on tremendous blessings.
Thoughts you hold create your belief. Your actions create your results. Take a pen and paper and create your destiny. Build an image of the life you want. See yourself in that image. There will be some gaps, but do your very best to see the life you wish to live. That’s called ‘walking by faith and not by sight.’
We must see, feel and believe that we can have whatever we see in our thoughts. The clearer your vision becomes, the more likely you will be able to make your dream come true. See every single step you must take. Just walk in the direction of your dream. Know why and what your purpose is.
It is never too late to change your life. Ask yourself, “Where do I really want to go from here?” What you focus on becomes the strongest as long as you have the faith of a mustard seed. What is something I could do? What is something I should do? And if I do this, will it get me closer to my goal?
Let me share an example of a young woman who did exactly what I’m saying and made her dreams come true. During my speaker training, Les Brown talked about Tawana Williams, born without arms, and she wrote a book called “Unarmed But Dangerous”! She became a tremendous success story.
There are unlimited possibilities of things we can do to put us in the right state of mind. Fall in love with what you want to be, do or have, and keep our Heavenly Father in your heart.
This bamboo metaphor resonates deeper for me as a religious columnist and radio show host, sharing wisdom and knowledge with readers and listeners. There are times we can all feel as though we have been honing our skills and talents, the way the farmers do when they are watering, tilling, and nurturing the bamboo tree, and nothing seems to be sprouting. However, reading this story of how the bamboo tree reminded me why we should be patient and consistent long after we come out of this pandemic.
We must know that things are happening even if we can’t see them “on the surface.” Working towards our goals even a little bit every day will not show immediate results, but it will in the long term if we just stay the course.
Each day we are all learning, storing knowledge, building networks, creating friendships, giving and receiving love, and nurturing our bodies, minds, and future growth, both professionally and personally. Nothing we do is a waste of time if we keep that in mind. When we invest in that process, invest in ourselves, stay consistent, and don’t give up nor expect immediate payback, we will wake up one day and realize we are exactly where we need to be … staring up at a forest of 80 and 90 feet tall bamboo trees that are there because of our care.
So keep watering your seeds. Your work matters. Your care matters. Your experience matters. Your investment matters. It will be worth it in the long run.