The Bamboo Tree

It takes years to make an overnight success.
Eddie Cantor

The journey of the bamboo tree is a fascinating one. Once planted, it needs to be watered, nurtured, and fertilized every day. But nothing happens in its first year. You do the same thing the next year, and still nothing happens. After 4 years, you still don’t see any results.

You’re waiting for results, not seeing any evidence of progress. Can you imagine yourself doing the same things every day, not having any evidence that your efforts are having any effect? But then what happens in the fifth year is absolutely amazing. One morning you wake up and see a small bamboo sprig, then the next day an even bigger one and in 5 weeks it has grown up to 90 ft. (27 meters)!


The bamboo plant was growing underground during all those years, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond. The plant had to develop a strong unseen foundation to be able to sustain and support this rapid growth after it sprouts.

The bamboo tree’s journey applies to people who have a larger vision of what it is they want to accomplish, people who want more from life and who refuse to take the easy way out, or the “I want it now” mentality. It takes faith to work while you wait. It takes belief in yourself to keep going. It takes confidence to trust that you will always get rewarded for how hard you work – sometimes now, often later.

What we become in the process of pursuing a dream or passion is more important than the accomplishment or destination. It is the character developed during the journey that stays when the journey is complete.

Don’t let your mood, circumstances, or people, derail you. Get started and keep going. You’ll be amazed at what you achieve. And what is more important, is who you will eventually become as a result.


  1. Are you about to give up on something? What will help you continue rather than giving up?
  2. The bamboo tree built a solid foundation. What can you do to improve your attitude toward work, people, life to help you develop a stronger root system?
  3. How can you and/or your team use this message to help you?

Moving Forward:

  1. Keep a small bamboo tree on a table where you can see it every day to remind you to be patient and to not succumb to the “I want it now” mentality.
  2. To ensure you do the most important things to build your foundation, create and write down a plan.
  3. Share this message with someone that is applying an “I want it now” mentality to life.

You’ll get there when you are meant to get there and not a moment sooner- so relax, breathe, and be patient.

This story along with 29 others can be found in “Challenger Deep Stories, Fables, and Lessons to Help You Rise Above Adversity”

Tami Matheny is owner of Refuse2LoseCoaching. She is a Mental Game Coach and Author. Her books include: “This is Good” at:, “The Confident Athlete: 4 Easy Steps to Build and Maintain Confidence”, “Challenger Deep,” and “The Confidence Journal”. All books can be purchased online at Amazon. For group discounts or signed copies contact

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