What an entrepreneur can learn from a bamboo tree…

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Remember Newton's apple incident? Or Archimedes' "eureka' moment in the bathtub? Epiphany moments can strike anytime, anywhere. Strangely, life's lessons are learnt from the most ordinary or seemingly simple things.


Take the humble bamboo tree, for instance. On the surface, it is just a tall, green stalk of shoot reaching for the skies. However, when one observes it a little closely, it has invaluable lessons, especially for an entrepreneur:

Bend to survive, but don't break: A bamboo sways with the slightest breeze and bends when gales take over a mountainside. It survives storms, but is strong enough not to break.

As an entrepreneur, it is crucial for you to go with the flow, just like the bamboo, and move with the times. Yet, to not compromise on your principles when the going gets tough is what forms your DNA as an entrepreneur; stay true to it.

Empty? Not quite: Cut a mighty bamboo tree and you will notice it has a hollow stem. It is this hollowness that allows the plant to bend with the breeze, grow quicker, and stay erect.

The secret to being a successful leader or entrepreneur is similar – empty yourself of arrogance, prejudice and fear. Staying clear of this baggage will help you understand your employees, colleagues, and customers better.

At the same time, when you are not full of yourself, it is far easier to learn from your mistakes, take lessons from life and create more value for those around you.

Spring to action: Bend a bamboo shoot and see it spring right back, as it was. No matter how short or tall a live bamboo plant is, it is always ready for action and comes back to how it was.

For an entrepreneur, this flexibility of nature means being ready to spring back after facing challenges and adversities.

Grow, keep growing: Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant in the world, and can grow upto 15 cm in four hours –that is upto one mm every 90 seconds! But you won't notice this spurt of growth on a daily basis – you marvel at it only when you remember how little it once was.

Slowly, and steadily, it keeps inching up, reaching for the skies, fighting against all odds. That's an important lesson for an entrepreneur too – continuous growth with baby steps every day.

After all, most growth charts aren't made of bursts of activity but of inching upwards gradually.

Create value: Bamboo is one of the most useful plants around us with each part of a bamboo tree used in some form or the other. Not only can you make hundreds of products (bridges, kitchenware, clothing, beauty products, weapons, musical instruments et al) with the humble-looking bamboo, it has a higher tensile strength (resistance to being pulled apart) than steel itself!

Being like the bamboo…can do wonders for an entrepreneur! Do favors, help people, create value for your stakeholders, and most importantt— stay strong.