Putting Down Roots: Life Lessons from the Moso Bamboo

Moso bambooI watched an inspirational video this week about the process of growing a moso bamboo plant and I had to share. Below I’ve included a link to the seven and a half minute video if you’d like the long and set to calming zen music version. If not, I’ll sum it up the best I can.

The Story of Growth: The Moso Bamboo

To grow a moso bamboo plant, you must first acquire a piece of moso bamboo stock. Next, dig a hole three feet deep and bury the stock. Finally, water the little patch of dirt every day, 365 days per year; seriously, every day.

If you miss a day, the bamboo will not grow.

For the first year after you’ve planted your stock and watered it every day…nothing seems to happen.

The second year, you continue to water every day and…nothing seems to happen.

Third year…nothing.

Fourth year…STILL NOTHING!

In the fifth year, or some say on the 1825th day, a sprout breaks through the soil and begins to grow.

The bamboo grows three feet every twenty four hours! It continues to grow every day and can grow up to 90 feet in six weeks.

So, what on Earth was happening for those five years of tending, waiting, and watering?

The plant was putting down and expanding its roots; roots vast enough and deep enough to support the unprecedented growth it knew would come.


I think the message is pretty apparent, but I love that it can apply to anyone. Writers, artists, parents, athletes, business owners, anyone who has a goal: you cannot predict the day that your dream will shoot from the ground and skyrocket toward the stars, but if you remain committed, amazing things will happen.

Are you putting down your roots? What are you doing to nurture your dreams?

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10 Responses to Putting Down Roots: Life Lessons from the Moso Bamboo

  1. It’s so appropriate that *you* should be the one to bring me this lesson, Nicole. I *know* that once you burst onto the scene, you will streak into the literary skies. I know you to have the stabilizing roots of supporting family and community. Besides your talent and dedication, you are wise and kind and nurturing to others, so you’re a natural. Know that it’s just a matter of time. :-) Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you for those kind words, Vaughn. I know this is true for you as well and what an amazing support system you have! It will be so exciting, for both of us, when the day comes to peek through the soil and see what’s waiting! I hope you are doing well and have a beautiful weekend.

  2. Sarah L Fox says:

    Cool! That’s a great way to look at a writer’s journey!

    • Nicole says:

      I agree, Sarah. I loved this perspective and it fits so well with writing. Just look at the body of work you’ve created in the last couple of years! Once the doors open for you, you’ll be ready to take on every genre!

  3. Bernadette Phipps-Lincke says:

    What V said. And thank you.

  4. “You cannot predict the day that your dream will shoot from the ground and skyrocket toward the stars” is the best! I love your lesson here, and it’s a good one. :)

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks, Lara! Watching this video really created one of those good mental shifts for me on the whole waiting and trying game that seems to be the standard process in the writing world. Every time I get a rejection letter I think I’ll imagine a new root planting itself in the ground. ;) Congratulations to you on the recent excitement with Finding Meara! You deserve it!

  5. Laura K. Cowan says:

    This is happening to me right now. :) Thanks for this.

    • Nicole says:

      Hi, Laura! Which part is happening? The waiting or the skyrocketing success? Hopefully the latter. I’m so happy you stopped by and connected with the message. Best of luck to you!

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