A carpenter was going through a tough time. Work had dried up, no money was coming in and he was losing energy and hope. He couldn’t see a way forward and the future was looking bleak.
One day he went for a walk to a nearby forest to reflect. He walked for half an hour through the forest when he met a wise old man who saw the carpenter was troubled, so he invited him to his little cottage and listened to his story.
When they finished drinking tea, the wise old man invited the carpenter to see the huge piece of land at the back of his cottage. There were ferns and bamboos next to dozens of trees, and the wise old man told the carpenter he had a story to tell about them.
“Eight years ago, I planted fern and bamboo seeds at the same time. However, after planting I noticed that the fern and bamboo responded differently to my care. In just a few months the fern became a majestic plant, but the bamboo was still under the ground, with no signs of life.
After one year, the fern kept growing, but the bamboo did not. Still, I kept taking care of it. Two years passed, three, four and still I did not give up on it.
After five years, I finally saw a shy twig sprouting from the bamboo. The very next day it was much bigger. After a few months, it became an incredible bamboo of 10 meters! Why did it take so long to grow?”
The carpenter thought about it, not sure what to say. The wise old man continued, “It took five years for the bamboo to take root under the ground. It knew it had to grow very tall so it also knew it had to have a firm base that would allow it to grow so tall.”
The carpenter knew what the wise old man was trying to tell him. Sometimes things take time because they are taking root. The important thing is to persist and not lose faith.
Before leaving, the wise old man had one last thing to say to the carpenter.
“Happiness keeps you sweet. Trials keep you strong. Failure keeps you humble. Success keeps you growing.”
Taken from ‘Exploring your mind’ https://exploringyourmind.com/the-fern-and-the-bamboo-a-fable-on-resilience/
For more inspiration and for moments when we feel, or people around us feel overwhelmed, this TED talk on the three secrets of resilient people may help.