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The Power of Persistence: A Lesson from the Bamboo Farmer on Achieving Success

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
- Leo Tolstoy

Patience is a virtue, as is persistence. These attributes are developed from an unwavering dedication to yourself and are driven by an unyielding belief in what is possible. There is a story that demonstrates this point via a Chinese folktale of a bamboo farmer.

A man, who has been a farmer his whole life, is growing traditional Chinese crops such as rice, wheat, and potatoes for generations. Just like everyone else within his small rural community. Deciding that he wanted to make a better life for himself and his family, the farmer decided to grow bamboo. This crop would yield greater profits than any other crop he could grow.

When other farmers within his community learned of his plans, they openly judged him. “We have grown the same crops here for generations! This is what we do; this is how it is!” The farmer remained dedicated to his decision, planting his seed and tending to his crop daily.

After the growing season, his neighbors and fellow farmers harvested their traditional crops. They traded their hard work that season for money. Money that enabled them to provide life necessities as well as enough money the following season to replant their crops. Meanwhile, the farmer saw no visible signs of growth. Still, the farmer remained confident in his decision.

The next season, he remained dedicated to tending his crops daily. At the end of his second year, he had no visible signs of growth. His neighbors and fellow farmers began to openly pity and mock his decision, “We told you not to grow that crop! You should have grown something that could pay you and feed you!”

The farmer didn't allow the feedback to derail his determination and positive mindset. He had a plan, he only needed to keep walking the path. The third and fourth years yielded identical results for the farmer, with more vocal feedback from his neighbors and farmers. The farmer reminded himself that his approach would pay off.

Dedicated to succeeding, the farmer persisted with his plan, trusting that this was the right course of action the farmer set off on his fifth year.

One morning when the farmer awoke, he left his house to tend his crops. When he arrived, he was greeted with a sight that took his breath away. His crops had not only sprouted, the bamboo had grown more than a foot in height overnight! This pattern continued without showing signs of slowing down, resulting in a forest by the end of the growing season.

While the farmer was admiring his work, fellow farmers began to stop their work and stare at the developing crop! The farmers began to see the benefit of the farmer's sacrifice, becoming jealous of the payoff the farmer would reap in the foreseeable future at a ratio greater than 2:1 of the payoff of normal crops. The farmer has effectively generated generational wealth and secured his economic position within the community and world market.


How did growth on this scale happen, had they only recently grown after four years? Or is it more likely that they were building a foundation that would be used for the rest of their life? Silently growing underground as they developed is a root system strong enough to support generations of growth.

Had the farmer not persisted, not continued to nourish and tend to his crops with such faith and conviction, they would have perished without ever seeing the light of day. The farmer's future would be similar to those within his community who struggle to tend the fields every year to harvest enough products to support their family.

Reflecting on this journey and the path the farmer took to get there, the principle of determination, persistence, and dedication to a positive mind frame. At every obstacle, the farmer made a conscious effort to trust the process and to continue towards his goal, never surrendering to doubt.

What goals are you working towards? How are you showing dedication like the farmer in our story to ensure your goals are met with success? Regardless of the path taken, we all reach our destination to our goal, either we reach it with success or we crash into it with failure. I encourage you to remember this: Some seeds take longer to sow, which is why persistence is so important. For it is only when you are patient and persistent that you can reap great rewards.

And when you do, everyone will look on in wonder at your 'overnight' success.


Until Next Time, Climb Together


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