Be Like Bamboo and Reach for the Sky!

reach for the sky like bamboo

Did you know that bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world and can grow over 100 cm in a day!?

The growth rate depends on the availability of nutrients, water, and the temperature of the surroundings. This is not bad for what is after all a relative of the everyday grass species.

However this growth doesn’t begin from a young age. Depending on the species, it could be a few years before the phenomenal growth kicks in. In fact there is this saying about the way bamboo grows:-

The first year it sleeps
The second year it creeps
The third year it leaps

The bamboo plant doesn’t just give up if it only grown an inch or two. The first few years it might only grown an inch annually, but then suddenly bamboo can grow 30 to 100 feet in a matter of days and weeks.

What lessons can we learn here in making it happen for yourself and for the world?

It takes time, effort, focus and consistency to become an “overnight success”.

We all need to prepare our ground, put in daily effort on an ongoing consistent basis before one day getting the success we desire and deserve.

The definition of “success” will vary from person to person but the requisite steps are the same:-

1. Lay down your roots

During its gestation period, a bamboo plant is growing roots and building up sustenance as well as creating a supportive foundation for its future glory.

Get clear about what you need for your long term growth and lay down your roots.

What are your roots?

2. Nurture yourself

Take great self- care and make sure that you are fit and well enough for the long run.

What do you need to nurture yourself?

3. Have the right resources

Be prepared for the long haul. Acquire and learn to use the best and optimal tools.

Learn better and smarter ways of doing things and you will free up your time and energy to actually enjoy your growth.

4. Take consistent tiny steps

Do whatever you need to each day, no matter how tiny, mundane or painstaking.

By doing each day, you will be working towards your long term legacy.

5. Remain focussed and persistent

Usually if things don’t happen fast enough, people give up. Can you imagine a bamboo tree giving up after growth of just a few inches!

Then the world would never see it reach majestic heights. Make sure the same thing about you is true.

So no matter where your journey takes you, keep on going. You are on a great journey of learning, growth and personal development.

Reach for the sky like bamboo and one day you too can light up the world.

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  1. The Conscious Life says

    Thanks for the great post, Arvind. Bamboo holds a special place in Chinese as they see it as a symbol of hardiness, not afraid of difficulties and perseverance. Those who long for success, indeed, should ‘take a leaf’ out of bamboo.

    • Thanks Wee Peng Ho for your Chinese input.Bamboo certainly symbolises hardiness and perseverance.

      I have a “chinese lucky bamboo” in my home but have just learnt that it is not even bamboo but a European plant!

  2. Ideas With A Kick says

    I like your analogy Arvind. When I was reading about how bamboo grows, one other thought came into my mind: Even if bamboo reaches FOR the sky, grows fast and tall, it never reaches the sky. But I think he’s OK with it 🙂

    The same way, I think it can be a good idea for us humans to aim for perfection, get as close as possible to it, use it as a motivator, but be OK with not reaching it. Otherwise we become like a bamboo with low self-esteem 🙂


    • Eduard, you have raised an excellent point. It is OKAY not to reach the heights:-)

      As far as I know, there are no other living beings on earth who have self-esteem issues. So wouldn’t it just be great to let go all of that and just be like bamboo, basking in the sun/rain and being!

  3. fiona O'Hanlon says


    What a great motivational bamboo story this is. The analogy of the patient (not giving up)and resilient bamboo who is eventually rewarded by sudden propulsion towards the blue sky (ones dreams/goals) is so appropriate for me today. In the face of huge global and economic uncertainty, many people may feel chalenged to maintain a steady ship and hold on to their dreams. My son has just left school at 19 years. He has his dreams (as I do).I am sometimes challenged to keep him optimistic towards his future. The bamboo story describes perfectly what I have been trying to convey to him all week, mainly dont panic, stay focused, keep going and when you do this a path will open up to you when you least expect it to (sudden growth of bamboo).

    • Fiona,thanks for sharing about your son.

      So many people around the world continue to feel uncertainty and fear but it will all work out eventually. Like the bamboo we have to keep going, head upwards and just allow the magic to take place:-)

  4. Justin- says

    This post is a great reminder of the work that we have to do to prepare ourselves for a successful life. There really is no such thing as an overnight success.

  5. Arvind, excellent piece; but what do you think about these facts: Bamboo is hollow from inside. It does not have proper/full width or cross-section area when it grows meaning that it has no proper/solid base. It just grows in height, without a solid base.

    Don’t you think that while one should aim for the sky heights, one has also to take a balanced approach for creating a solid base as well. A unidirectional growth cannot match a multi-dimensional growth that is a long-lasting solution. So, we may have to look at the growth of other trees as well, which can grow in height, width and cross-section and are not hollow from inside. The same analogy may perhaps apply to human beings as well. A person with a solid base will ultimately have a better long-term growth.

    These are just a few thoughts. I would like to know the reaction of a thinker like you.

    • Dear Ashok bhai,

      I totally agree with you about having a solid base rather than just focussing on growing in one direction. I shall write an article about this soon. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the inspiration:-)

  6. Anne Brandt Dias says

    Hi Arvind,

    A very nice comparison Arvind but often one gets impatient when things don’t happen and results are slow. But I shall remember (the bamboo) and learn to be patient and more tolerant.


    • Thanks Anne – good to see you here. Having known you for many years nowl, I know how impatient you can be!

      Time to be more patient and tolerant:-)

  7. There is so much truth in this. I like the depth you went into. You’re very articulate!

  8. Arvind you have such a gift! I will especially think of bamboo the next time I am in tree pose 🙂 I could have used a bit more bamboo energy as a youth as I never made it to 5 feet in physical height yet in spirit I do feel the energy and this message is a wonderful reminder to hold steadfast to your dreams and trust that they will grow. especially if one surrounds themselves with a “nutritional” environment.

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