Feeling Like Bamboo, and The Shoots Are Coming
A pretty cool clip I read while reading Atomic Habits book is about building habits / systems – not just goals.
What is this story of bamboo?
It spends 5 years underground building its roots. Making a strong and solid foundation. Then, after those five years, it suddenly shoots up into the sky – up to 90 feet. And all of its “above ground” growth is done within 6 weeks.
Think about that – five years of building roots and a foundation, and only six weeks to “come out of nowhere” and become a massive and beautiful bamboo tree (well, is it really a tree?).
Seems Chinese people like this saying and there is a bunch of it in their philosophy. Definitely seems like an Eastern kind of saying.
But we all should think about this and learn. We need to plant seeds, invest in ourselves. Not expect others to notice what we are working on and give us credit and praise.
We are building the roots, those 5 years of hard work and no recognition.
Most people can’t accept this. It is hard. To work tirelessly and day in and day out making a foundation without praise. We want that short term boost of people around us saying “good job”, “wow, this is so good”, etc etc.
But in order to build that bamboo forest, those 90 feet tall trees within 60 days, we need to invest in those 5 years underground making the forest.
For me, I feel that has been true – lets think of an example. Blogging is for sure like that – you are making a website, and writing content, and trying to get traction. But they key is your are making a habit. You are making a system. You have a content schedule (hopefully) and you are being consistent.
People start to notice. You find others to help you. You make systems and processes. You teach others how they can help you build up the blogs and the website.
This root foundation is being built. Brick by brick it is coming together until you have a strong castle.
Then suddenly people start to notice. You hear comments of people who think how easy it must have been to “just make some blog posts” and get traffic and customers.
Just like a winning sports team, or a hot startup who goes IPO or is funded, etc. The news headlines only focuses on those headline events – not those “5 years building the roots and the foundation”.
Because those years are super boring. The public doesn’t want to hear about the blood, sweat, and tears of building that foundation.
Yet that is what it takes to get those 5 minutes of fame. To break through and separate yourself from the rest.
So keep on chipping away. Don’t get discouraged. Think of it as a foundation, a network of roots that you can use to not just build 1 bamboo tree, but an entire forest.
Plus, try to enjoy those years. I am also trying my best.