Photo by Ryoji Iwata / Unsplash
There is no failure only feedback.

In the Far East, there is a tree known as “Chinese Bamboo”.

It’s not just another tree – there is something very different about it.

While other trees will grow at their own, steady pace, the Chinese Bamboo won’t come out of the ground for the first four years.

Yes – that’s four years. You’ll never notice it; it’s as if the tree doesn’t exist.

You might even laugh at the caretaker who is so lovingly taking care of an invisible tree.

But – during year five, something magical happens. The caretaker’s efforts pay off big time.

Within five weeks, the humble Chinese bamboo grows to 90 feet.

People who go the mile work in a similar way. You’ll see them put their heads down, working their hours away on an “insane” concept. No results.

The parable of the Chinese Bamboo Tree teaches us lessons about patience, faith, perseverance, growth and development and importantly… human potential!

Like any plant, to flourish the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. 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 feet (nearly 30m) in just six weeks!

So the question is: Does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow 80 feet in six weeks? Did it lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system and a stable base strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?

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

Just as a house needs to have a strong foundation to survive. The same principle is true for people, success and your speaking career. People, toil towards their dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while those who chase the “quick buck” are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth. Remember the old saying: “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”

Had the 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 fledgling bird is doomed if it is freed from its struggle of breaking through the shell prematurely. The struggle in the egg is what gives the little bird the strength to grow and flourish, just as tension against muscles as we exercise strengthen our muscles, while muscles left alone will soon atrophy.

The Chinese Bamboo Tree is a perfect parable to our own experience with personal growth and change. And change is never easy. Often, signs of progress are slow, frustrating and unrewarding at times.

But it is so worth it….especially if we can be patient and persistent.