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Rising Tall: Embracing Change and Cultivating Strength


“Do you know how long it takes for the giant bamboo to grow as tall as a building?”

I heard a really inspiring story the other day and wanted to share it in the hopes that perhaps it may inspire you. 🙂

The story goes, “There once was a man who was discouraged.” As he reflected on the past year and the resolutions he’d made, he felt he was the same person with the same problems. He sought out his mentor who asked him, “Do you know how long it takes for the giant bamboo to grow as tall as a building?”

The mentor continued. The seedling is watered for one year, and nothing happens. Then, it is watered for another year, and another and another and still nothing happens. Then, in the fifth year, it grows 90 feet in six weeks. 

The mentor asked the man how long it takes for the bamboo to grow. The man replied that it takes six weeks to which the mentor responded that it takes five years. “If the farmer had stopped watering the plant at any point during those five years, it would have died,” said the mentor. He continued, “During those five years, beneath the surface, a network of roots were growing to support the bamboo’s sudden growth.”

If only we all had such a wise mentor to help support us on our journey of growth!

In this article, we’ll talk about:

  • The cycles of change

  • Why change is important

  • How to have a mindset to support change

If change is good, why is it so hard!

According to Jason Capital, change is challenging because of what he calls ‘the valley of despair.’ When we encounter a situation that requires us to change, we go through stages of emotional change. There are five stages: 

  • Uninformed optimism: before we start something, we may think that it’ll be easy and we are excited to start.

  • Informed pessimism: not long after we start, we realize that it is going to be harder than what we thought and we can start to have doubts.

  • Valley of despair: the title really says it all. Basically, we feel we can’t do it, and won’t succeed, so there is no point trying. This stage is where 90% of people get stuck and give up.

  • Informed optimism: if we push through the valley of despair, we come out the other side. Although still challenging, we feel we can do it and take action to make it happen.

  • Success and fulfillment: the final stage when we achieve what we set out to do and feel empowered and grow as a result of the experience.

When we know that change brings with it a rollercoaster of emotions, we can be prepared and recognize the stage we are in. This can help to overcome that valley of despair.

When we change, we can overcome and grow

“Growth takes patience and perseverance.”

The world is constantly changing all around us. Change makes way for the new by letting go of the old. Change is the cycle of nature. Watching and learning from nature can teach us that by letting go, we actually allow space for new possibilities and happiness. So let’s talk about some of the benefits of change.

Benefits of Change

What It Means

Personal Growth

We can discover something about ourselves that we didn’t know.


We can adapt more easily to new situations, new environments and new people.


When we overcome a challenging experience, we become stronger.


Change brings with it new opportunities for happiness and success.

New Beginnings

Embracing something new is refreshing and exciting and who knows where the path will lead to next.

Building a Growth Mindset One Step at a Time

“You may not see the change right away but growth is happening.”

A growth mindset is one that embraces challenges with a positive attitude, is willing to make mistakes, and is open to learning. We can all develop this kind of mindset. Here’s how:

  • Reframe thinking: from negative to positive: every situation can be looked at as a glass half empty or half full. Over time, as we choose more positive words, we can shift our mindset.

  • Find a mentor: find someone who can help us stay accountable. This can be a group or an individual, someone who has successfully changed or is walking the same path.

  • Meditate: meditation is a powerful tool to help us change from negative to positive thinking. It can help us to get to the root cause of whatever is blocking us from changing.

  • Take risks: be willing to make mistakes. If we don’t stretch ourselves outside our comfort zone, we can’t truly grow.

  • Cultivate gratitude: when we are grateful, we can be happier, have more positive emotions and therefore face difficult situations more easily.

What are you willing to do to make your dreams come true?

Thoughts become our words, which become our actions, which become our habits, which become our character, and ultimately our destiny. When we change our thoughts, we can change our life.

In the story about the giant bamboo, the mentor asks the man if he is willing to push past his fears and doubts and take action. We truly can achieve anything. It all starts with our mindset. Having a growth mindset is more important than having talent. When we persevere and are consistent, we can be successful. Like the wise words from teacher Woo Myung, “Everyone is born with different talents. We can often see that a person who silently perseveres becomes successful despite a lack of talent.”

If you’re not sure where to start, simply start small. Every drop of water makes a difference. When you take that first step, the other steps will naturally start to unfold. And if you’d like some personal guidance, why not try meditation!

Gaby - Europe Meditation Team

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