How Finding ‘Overnight Success’ Is Like Growing Bamboo

How Finding ‘Overnight Success’ Is Like Growing Bamboo
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Bamboo is one of the strongest, most versatile plants in the world. It’s used for a large number of things, but, just like success, it doesn’t grow overnight. In fact, bamboo seedlings don’t even break ground for at least five years.

Picture: Joi Ito/Flickr

There are many things that can help lead you to success: your experience, your ideas and your process. But there is a reason that patience is a virtue. Daniel Dipiazza, the founder of Rich20Something, writes at Entrepreneur about how the appearance of so-called “overnight success” is just like being a bamboo farmer:

Even with perfect care and maintenance, you won’t see any progress. You won’t even be sure if they’re still alive down there. This presents many inexperienced, would-be bamboo farmers with a dilemma: They can’t dig up the plants to check on them. But they’re so tired of waiting for the plant to sprout, and the suspense is killing them. So what do they do? Well, the successful bamboo farmers wait patiently. Even without seeing signs of growth, they are watering their seeds. Day in, day out. Even when they’re discouraged. Even when they’re sure that it’s futile. Then, after five years of labour and faith in something they can’t see, they’re rewarded with the miraculous “overnight” growth. By the end of the week, their formally non-existent tree is taller than they are!

Dipiazza’s analogy highlights the problem many of us have. We struggle because we don’t see our success growing every day so dig up the seeds to see what went wrong. Once we do that, however, it’s all over — those seeds will never have a chance to spout. You may not be able to see the progress every step of the way, but you need to keep watering the seeds you’ve planted and stay the course. One day, without warning, they will spout and that “overnight success” will suddenly be yours. Dipiazza’s entire article is worth a read, so check it out at the link below.

Why You Should Ask a Bamboo Farmer What It Takes to Succeed [Entrepreneur]


  • Great story, but has anyone managed to find a citation lending any truth to the claim that Bamboo takes 5 years to break ground?

    A quick search of the interwebs suggests this is an old wives tale.

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