Monday Motivation, Week 15: Lessons From a Chinese Bamboo Tree

So, you start your career or launched your idea, instantly skyrocketed to the top of your field in a record amount of time and are now comfortably deciding what you are going to do with the millions that you have made.

If this is you, stop reading now — we can chat next Monday ;).

I want to talk to those of you who feel a little more like I do sometimes.

You feel like you have done everything you had to do, plus extra, to reach the ultimate success. You who have put in the late nights, early mornings, sacrificed happy hours and brunches, and have talked to God more than you have talked to your own friends — and it still feels like you are in the same place that you would’ve been if you hadn’t put any work in at all!

What the heck?

It’s a really discouraging feeling when you put in all of the work to be great, but your only reward seems to be a front row seat watching everyone around you become successful.
I think the proper word to describe your world would be stagnant.
If a young Chinese Bamboo Tree could talk, it would be our best friend, and we could all play the violin together as we talk about our embarrassment of averageness.
The Chinese Bamboo Tree sits in the forest and soaks up the same water, soil, and sunshine as every other tree that surrounds it. This was the tree that would’ve gotten good grades, gotten its masters and started working on some amazing ideas.
In the first year, this bamboo tree doesn’t grow much at all. Maybe it’s a slow starter. Well, after one thousand, eighty hundred and twenty-five days of water, soil, and the sun; the Chinese Bamboo tree grows to a whopping, unbelievable 16 feet. That’s FIVE YEARS that this tree lived, receiving the same nutrients as the other trees did, only to end up as the smallest tree in the forest.

If this tree was a person, it would look around and wonder what it is about itself that makes it the complete opposite of special.

Something really magical happens during year five.
The tree grows 80 feet in six weeks.

The same tree that could only 16 feet in 5 years suddenly sprouts up to become the largest tree in the forest.

If this tree at any point during the previous years this tree gave up and decided that the soil, water, and sun needed wasn’t working, it would have withered away. Instead, what really happens with this tree, is that it takes all of its nutrients and grows it’s roots — because some very, very strong roots are needed in order to support an 80-foot tree.

This is special because the roots are the only part of the tree that we can’t see.

I think you are the Chinese Bamboo Tree, and all of the hard work and right things that you are doing are only making your core strong enough to support being an extremely successful person. You are building the type of foundation that will be needed to support the dreams that will sprout to become the largest, heaviest tree in the forest of life. If you stop watering your seed — learning, working, praying, dreaming — you roots will wither and you will too.

Stop second guessing yourselves, or worse, quitting. It may take weeks. It may take months. It may even take years, but eventually, the roots will take hold and the trees in your life will grow. And when they do it will grow in remarkable ways.

Let me know what roots you are growing, and let’s support each other as we grow together! Enjoy your Monday — another opportunity to start the week off right.