SUBJECT LINE: Bamboo-zled! . . .
Have you heard the Bamboo story?
It goes something like this…
When you plant a bamboo seed… you water it and wait. You wait an entire year and nothing appears. No bud, no twig, nothing. It looks like nothing is happening.
So you keep watering and protecting the area and taking care of the future plant. You wait another year. Still, nothing happens.
Another year goes by and still no sign of growth. So far it’s been three years.
At this stage, it feels like maybe it would be better if you just gave up? You could use the land to grow a faster crop. But someone told you it might take a while to really see any of the results of your efforts, so you keep on taking care of the plant.
Another year passes. Still no plant.
You begin year number five with the same passion as day number one. You keep watering and keep waiting.
And finally, after five years, the Bamboo starts growing. And in 6 weeks… it grows to over 80 feet tall!
Yes, 80 feet in six weeks!
Or so the story goes (I’m sure Snopes has some article disproving the idea that Bamboo can grow that fast)
When you look at it though, did it really grow 80 feet in 6 weeks or did it take the whole 5 years?
At the surface level, it may not have looked like there was much happening… Because there wasn’t!
But underneath the soil, an intricate network of roots was preparing for the rapid, future growth. If you think about it, how could it support such a huge plant otherwise.
Some people don’t particularly like the Bamboo story because they think it’s actually a story of doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
But I don’t see it that way…
Because… if you are the one who planted the bamboo seed and you have the idea that bamboo takes 5 years to grow… even though it looks like nothing is happening, you would still persist. I mean why would you give up and plant another crop before the 5 years were up?
I hope these people don’t plant an acorn!
Of course, it would be different if you weren’t the one who planted the seed and you were expected to “trust” that another person did it for you… but surely you can trust yourself can’t you?
I know I’ve seen situations where people have invested in a “done-for-you” bamboo seed-planting scheme… and they have been disappointed when there were no results after 5 years.
As horrible as that is… if you didn’t see the seeds planted yourself, how do you know they ever were?
Simple… you don’t!
So why am I talking about Bamboo this week?
Well, lately I’ve been writing a lot of copy for a lot of clients.
And I’ve been preparing my presentation for a Seminar I’ll be speaking at in a few weeks.
While I was compiling my “Who am I to be talking about Copywriting…” slide, I was reminded of the minuscule seed I planted many years ago.
Without really knowing what was to come, I planted some seeds which I hoped would grow and help me become the kind of copywriter I wanted to be (It takes approximately 10 years for that to happen I’m told.)
I keep nourishing the seeds with the best water and fertilizer I can afford.
Occasionally, I get a bad batch. So I discard it and continue on.
(No use crying over it, because the salty tears are not what helps bamboo to grow. In fact, salt can scorch and poison the delicate plant.)
Even when I couldn’t see any progress, I kept going. Of course I had lapses of self belief (I still do, but less so now). Don’t we all?
It hasn’t always been easy… in fact, I can’t really think of any times it ever was easy.
Many times I felt like ripping up the soil and doing something different… something easier. But what was “easy” would have been hard on my soul. And that would not be worth it.
DEEP… I know!
But I needed to go there, because I see so many people giving up right before they are about to sprout!
(Just so you know, in the Bamboo growth cycle… I am only a foot or two above the ground if I’m lucky… I still have quite a way to go!)
Personally, I like the Bamboo Story because…
Knowledge Nugget #46 – Small Steady Incremental Growth Is All You Need
While other people talk about accelerated results and supercharging your career…
Copywriting legend Gary Bencivenga, speaks about making a 1% improvement each week.
That’s it… 1%!
How achievable is that?
It doesn’t sound like much, but it all adds up. Kind of like the steady, incremental growth the bamboo experiences.
And then at the right time… BOOM! It goes up and up and up!
But for that to happen… you need to stay focused, keep the faith and allow yourself to grow.
It’s time to grow up!
Until next week… be safe, take care and dream big : )
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”
P.S. The little things really do add up. A few years ago, I signed up for John Carlton’s Simple Writing System. My mentor was Million Dollar Mike Morgan. The first thing he told me to do was to write out the Wall Street Journal letter 9 times.
Now, I had already written it out a bunch of times so I could have easily just shown him my previous writings and be done with it… but the only person I would have been cheating was myself.
It would be like saying “but I fertilized my bamboo seeds last year!” So I simply wrote it out again, because I know… I wouldn’t have been told to do it if it wasn’t important!
P.P.S. While you’re waiting for your Bamboo to grow, don’t just sit there and do nothing. That’s not how this works. Who says we can only have one batch of bamboo? Not me that’s for sure! Sow seeds anywhere and everywhere you can. You’ll be amazed at where they grow!
P.P.P.S. I always wondered what the bamboo felt like when it was rapidly thrusting upwards towards the sky… and now I know. It’s a little painful (but in a good way), a bit scary (because it’s new) and sometimes overwhelming (wondering if there’s enough energy and resources to support such rapid growth)… but it’s 100% worth it!