"How Success is Like a Chinese Bamboo Tree"
Chinese Bamboo Tree
I know it sounds a little out there but hear me out on this one. This is such a great parable. I don’t know if you’ve heard this story about the Chinese Bamboo Tree before now but this is one of those lessons that really sticks with you. The Chinese Bamboo Tree teaches us success lessons on patience, faith, perseverance, growth & development and most surprising of all… human potential!
The Story of The Chinese Bamboo Tree
Like any plant, growth of the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. Our patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, water, etc.) will ever be rewarded.
And finally in the fifth year – behold, a miracle! We experience growth. And what growth it is! The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows 80 feet in just six weeks!
就像任何植物一樣，中國竹樹的生長需要灌溉培育、肥沃的土壤、陽光。在第一年，我們看不到任何明顯的活動跡象。在第二年，再一次，生長沒有超過土壤表層。第三、第四，仍然什麼都沒有。我們的耐心經過了四年的考驗，我們開始懷疑我們的努力（一切的栽培，灌溉等）是否會得到回報。終於到了第五年 - 看到了奇蹟！我們看見了增長，但是這是什麼一回事呢？竟然在短短六週內長到80英尺的高！
But let’s be serious, does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow 80 feet in six weeks? Did the Chinese 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. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for people. People, who patiently toil towards worthwhile dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while get-rich- quickers and lottery winners usually are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth.
Had the Chinese Bamboo Tree farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the Chinese Bamboo tree’s growth as surely as a caterpillar is doomed to a life on the ground if it is freed from its struggle inside a cocoon prematurely. The struggle in the cocoon is what gives the future butterfly the wing power to fly, just as tension against muscles as we exercise strengthen our muscles, while muscles left alone will soon atrophy.
The Story of The Human Potential Tree (aka You)
The Chinese Bamboo Tree is a perfect parable to our own experience with personal growth and change (whether we are working on ourselves or coaching others). It is never easy. It’s slow to show any progress. It’s frustrating and unrewarding at times. But it is sooooo worth it….especially if we can be patient and persistent.
The Challenge We Learn from the Chinese Bamboo Tree
Can we stay focused and continue to believe in what we are doing even when we don’t see immediate results? In a culture driven by instant gratification – this is our biggest challenge.
We often tell each other (and our children), remember to “Keep trying! and NEVER give up!” The change may be slow – even invisible at times – but suddenly, as in the case of the Chinese Bamboo Tree, we will surprise ourselves.
我們經常告訴對方（和我們的孩子），記得「繼續努力！ “永遠不要放棄！」 那些改變或是變化可能來得很慢 - 有時甚至看不見 - 但又有時候突然間，就像中國竹樹一樣，我們也會被自己嚇到。
Keep your faith in this important work.
We live in a quick-fix society. We get frustrated if we have to wait more than 2 minutes for service or a stop light to change. We want instant solutions to every complex problem and every fractured relationship. In short – we want it all now! Maybe its time to reflect on an old, old poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that is as true today as it was when he wrote it over 100 years ago:
我們生活在一個「快速修復」的社會中。如果我們要為服務或紅綠燈等超過2分鐘，我們會感到沮喪。我們想要解決每個複雜問題和每個斷裂關係的「即時解決方案」。簡而言之 - 我們現在什麼想要！也許是時候反思亨利·沃茲沃思·朗費羅（Henry Wadsworth Longfellow）的一首古老的舊詩，今天和100多年前寫的一樣真實：
“The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Toiled ever upward through the night.”
Final Lesson From The Chinese Bamboo Tree
Yet, all of this requires one thing – faith. The growers of the Chinese Bamboo Tree have faith that if they keep watering and fertilizing the ground, the tree will break through. Well, you must have the same kind of faith in your bamboo tree, whether it is to run a successful business, win a Pulitzer Prize, raise well-adjusted children, or what have you. You must have faith that if you keep making the calls, honing your craft, reading to your children, reaching out to your spouse or asking for donations, that you too will see rapid growth in the future.
然而，這所有的一切都需要一件事 - 信仰。中國竹樹的種植者深信，如果他們繼續澆灌和施肥，樹木將會突破。那麼，你也必須對你的竹樹有同樣的信念，無論是經營一家成功企業，贏得普利策獎，培養出一個經過良好調教的孩子，還是你的其他什麼東西。你必須相信，只要你繼續打電話，磨練你的手藝，給你的孩子讀書，接觸你的配偶或要求捐款，你也會看到未來的快速增長。
This is the hard part for most of us. We get so excited about the idea that’s been planted inside of us that we simply can’t wait for it to blossom. Therefore, within days or weeks of the initial planting, we become discouraged and begin to second guess ourselves, or worse, quit.
Sometimes, in our doubt, we dig up our seed and plant it elsewhere, in hopes that it will quickly rise in more fertile ground. We see this very often in people who change jobs every year or so. We also see it in people who change organizations and even spouses in the pursuit of greener pastures. More often than not, these people are greatly disappointed when their Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t grow any faster in the new location.
Other times, people will water the ground for a time but then, quickly become discouraged. They start to wonder if it’s worth all of the effort. This is particularly true when they see their neighbors having success with other trees. They start to think, “What am I doing trying to grow a Chinese bamboo tree? If I had planted a lemon tree, I’d have a few lemons by now.” These are the people who return to their old jobs and their old ways. They walk away from their dream in exchange for a “sure thing.”
其他時候，人們會在地上澆水一段時間，但很快就會氣餒。他們開始懷疑所付出的努力是否值得。特別是當他們看到自己的鄰居因從種植別的樹種在短時間內得到成功。他們開始思考，“我為什麼還在嘗試種植一棵中國竹樹？如果我種了一棵檸檬樹，我現在已經吃了幾個檸檬。“ 這些人回到原來的工作崗位和老路上。他們離開了他們的夢想，以換取 “已確定的事情”。
Sadly, what they fail to realize is that pursuing your dream is a sure thing if you just don’t give up. So long as you keep watering and fertilizing your dream, it will come to fruition, just like the Chinese Bamboo Tree. It may take weeks. It may take months. It may even take years, but eventually, the roots will take hold and your Chinese bamboo tree will grow. And when it does, it will grow in remarkable ways.
We’ve seen this happen so many times. Henry Ford had to water his Chinese Bamboo Tree through five business failures before he finally succeeded with the Ford Motor Company. Another great bamboo grower was the legendary jockey Eddie Arcaro. Arcaro lost his first 250 races as a jockey before going on to win 17 Triple Crown races and 554 stakes races for total purse earnings of more than $30 million.
我們已經看過類似的狀況發生很多次了。亨利福特給他的中國竹樹不斷的澆水，經歷了五次商業失敗，才走到最終的成功。另一位偉大的竹樹種植者是傳奇騎師Eddie Arcaro。 Arcaro 身為騎師，在他贏得17場三冠王賽和554場比賽之前，他輸掉了他生涯的前250場比賽。最後，他所贏得的獎金總超過3000萬美元。
Well, you have a Chinese Bamboo Tree inside of you just waiting to break through. So keep watering and believing and you too will be flying high before you know it.
Did this story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree resonate with you? Do you feel more inspired?
Make life an adventure!