Growth, Development and Bamboo

I was reading a blog article this week from a chap called John Williams – no, not arguably the finest guitarist of a generation, nor the prolific film music composer. Another John Williams who happens to be a fellow blogger (writing about how folks can use their passions to turn “work” into “play”), entrepreneur and scanner. Anyway I digress.

So, I was reading this blog post this week and he was talking about a bamboo plant in his back yard and how it compares to making change in one’s life – growing slowly and steadily, increment by increment so you don’t notice it if you watch it directly, but you soon realise over the space of a month it’s shot up six foot (or a couple of metres depending on your preferred measurement).

What he had to say resonated with me in that learning, practicing and improving on the guitar (or any other instrument for that matter) is exactly the same.

I’m not going to try to paraphrase further what John wrote as he put it down pretty succinctly himself. So I’m going to share with you:

Every day I came back to look at it, it was noticeably taller. In a few months it was taller than me. Not long after that, it was taller than the first storey of the house.

The funny thing is though, I could stand there all day looking at that bamboo and never see it move.

I think life change is like that. We hold out for the flashes of insight, the big turning points, the landmark opportunities but really the best progress is made steadily and iteratively.

If we just keep growing in the right direction (instead of going for a burst of activity then nothing for weeks), our progress can be amazing.

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again – keep on practicing, a little bit every day, a little step at a time.

Think like bamboo and you might just surprise yourself how tall you grow.


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