A man got frustrated with life. Despite all his hard work and effort, failure was all that he learnt. Feeling defeated with life, he left everything and exiled himself in the woods. There he met a hermit. The disappointed man shared his failure with the hermit.
“Give me one good reason not to quit?” he pleaded with the hermit.
“Look,” the hermit said, pointing towards two plants. “Do you see that fern and bamboo there?”
“Yes,” the man nodded.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them water, light and fertiliser. Within a short period of time the fern grew from the earth,” the hermit continued.
“But despite the bamboo seed being watered and nurtured for years, it did not outwardly grow as much as an inch. In fact, nothing at all happened in the first year. There was no sign of growth. But, I did not give up on the bamboo seed and continued to water and nurture it. By the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. And within six months, the tree grew a hundred feet tall.”
“So, did the bamboo tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth?” the hermit asked.
Baffled by the question, the man kept quiet.
“The answer is quite obvious. The little tree was growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond. Had the tree not developed a strong foundation, it would not have sustained its life as it grew.”
“Did you know that all the time you had been struggling, you were growing strong roots,” remarked the hermit.
The man learned his lesson that day. He learnt the value of persistence and hard work. The fern and the bamboo stood right in front of him as he walked towards his life to continue to work on his dreams.