The Chinese bamboo plant starts as a tiny and seemingly insignificant seed. If you decide to plant the seed of a Chinese bamboo plant, you will be taught a lesson in patience. The exercise in Chinese bamboo plant growing is not for the microwave generation. There is no quick fix when it comes to the Chinese bamboo plant.
A year after you have planted the seed, despite all the effort you have made, you will only have a tiny shoot that pokes out of the ground. If you belong to the class of the feeble minded, a category of men of little faith, you will be tempted to give up. For at such a time, it would seem easier for you to believe that nothing will come out of this tree, than to stand in faith.
If you however are one of the zealous and ambitious individuals of our world, you will probably continue to water this seed. Some of you could actually go much further than that, by adding fertilizer to the ground. A few others could go as far as putting a protective hedge around the plantation. But when it comes to the Chinese bamboo plant, all your efforts will still not yield any tangible results outwardly.
I decided to choose the story of the Chinese bamboo plant, for I feel it is the best example to illustrate the lesson I am trying to get across in this article. PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE. What is happening to that bamboo tree after one year and then two years and later is a lesson in private philosophy that goes a long way to eventually determine public performance.
In this school of thought, as with the Chinese bamboo plant, it is the depth and quality of the preparation that determines the public performance. It is similar to the story of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he had to go through a thirty year period of preparation, to be able to spectacularly carry out his historic ministry in three short years.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Let us go back to the story of the Chinese bamboo plant. We have seen that despite your two year effort, you don’t really have anything to brag about to your friends in your garden. If you are the really focused and determined type, you will keep on watering the plant, despite the absence of any visible results. If you are absolutely determined about your goals and intentions, you will not just stop at watering your plant, you will go beyond that. You will keep on adding more fertilizers throughout the third year. You will strengthen the protective hedge.
Dear friends, when it comes to the Chinese bamboo plant however, you will discover that your three year effort doesn’t carry the day. Nothing significantly visible will happen.
One lesson the amazing Chinese bamboo plant is teaching us is that, if we deserve to have any spectacular result in any human endeavor, all of the following must be present; first you must have hope, beyond hope you must move to have faith. But just like we have been taught in the Holy Scriptures, that faith without works is dead, an active commitment to work is necessary to justify your claim to faith. Any declaration, proclamation or prophecy that only stops at hope and faith, will only lead to failure. The only proof that you believe in what you are proclaiming is to keep on working hard to actually actualize your beliefs.
As it is with this Chinese bamboo plant, if you believe in this end product that you are hoping for, you will not only dig the ground, and put in the seed, you will go beyond that. You will water it. You will add fertilizer. You will build a hedge. Even if you don’t see any results in the first year, you will unfailingly keep on doing it in the years that follow.
“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” —Pope Paul VI
It is the same thing with great dreams. That is how great visions are given birth to. We like to enjoy the fruits of great discoveries, like the IPad, IPhone, airplanes, television set, air conditioner, the Mercedes Benz, etc. But do we really want to hear the story of how those products came to be? It is all about the story of hope, faith, patience and endurance. All great achievements are a result of a PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY THAT DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE.
What most consumers and observers don’t notice however is the invisible aspect of the private philosophy that determines the outward result. Most consumers and observers don’t see the waiting time. They don’t see the watering time. They are ignorant of the fertilizer season. They didn’t see the dark hours of putting in place the protective hedges. What is even more inconspicuous are the long hours, days, weeks, months and years of enduring patiently without seeing the expected result. Without these long hours, days, weeks, months and years of endurance however, spectacular results are never experienced. Without them, there would be no performances. Without them it is a no show. They lay the foundation for public performance. They secure and guarantee a happy ending.
“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.” —Margaret Thatcher
Going back to our story of the Chinese bamboo plant, now we are running into the fourth year of patience and endurance, and still our beloved Chinese bamboo plant does not yield anything other than the small tiny shoot that you saw poke out of the ground after the first year.
Dear friends, are you sure you would still keep on holding the fort? Where would you be? Would you be in the number of the multitudes that have fallen by the wayside by this time? Would you be one of the frustrated, angered, cholerics that flare up their anger in absolute frustration? Or would you be among the very few that have what it takes to pass through the process, and pay the full price of what it takes to experience a spectacular result.
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
If you happen to be in that number; the strongest few men that qualify for great stories of victory, then you will hold down the fort till the fifth year. You will continue to go to your garden faithfully watering on a daily basis and looking at your infant like plant which has refused to grow beyond the small bud out of the ground. That is how our visions and dreams look like at times. We have prayed, we have worked, we have dreamed, we have prophesied, we have researched, we have studied, we have analyzed, we have marketed and yet all we have got is that small bud poking out of the ground.
This is the point where we all see the power of faith in action. For you to keep on getting out of that bed, fetching the water, day in day out, every day of the year, for the first year, second year, third year, fourth year and now into the fifth year, you could only be sustained by faith. Faith keeps us going when it doesn’t make sense to keep on going. Faith makes us to keep on working and laboring when the end result is not yet on the horizon. Faith empowers us not to give up when all hope seems lost.
As in this story of the amazing Chinese bamboo plant, finally, during the fifth year, our Chinese bamboo plant begins to grow, but what a growth it experiences. Oh what a growth! It’s not an ordinary growth. It’s a spectacular growth. A growth of supreme excellence!
Friends, get ready for this. Our Chinese bamboo plant, IN JUST A SHORT PERIOD OF SIX WEEKS, SHOOTS UP TO THE HEIGHT OF 90 FEET (27.5 meters) TALL. IT IS ONLY PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY THAT DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE.
Ladies and gentlemen, the story of the Chinese bamboo plant is the story of life. It is the story of real life. In real life dreams don’t come to pass overnight. In real life, microwave philosophies don’t work. In real life you don’t get something for nothing. Real life demands processes in production. Real life demands for patience. Real life demands for endurance. In real life, giving up doesn’t pay. In real life laziness is regrettable. In real life only great sacrifices lead to great celebrations. In real life only PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE.
PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE. The lesson I am trying to pass across to you my dear readers is that whenever you see any public performance, there has been some private trials. When you see a Mercedes Benz being lauded as one of the greatest cars in the world, you should know that behind her success is a great private philosophy. A philosophy that has become the philosophy of the company. A philosophy that has been institutionalized. A philosophy that has become the DNA of the Mercedes brand. PRIVATE PHILOSOPHIES DETERMINE PUBLIC PERFORMANCES.
When you see and hear about the legends of sports like Michael Jordan, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, you will also discover that behind every one of these heroes that millions celebrate all over the world for their public performances, is a hidden private lifestyle and philosophy. These men and women on daily basis, pay a huge price privately to come to the lime light that the world sees.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” —Colin Powel
Going back to our beloved story of the Chinese bamboo plant, the question is, did it grow 90 feet (27.5 meters) in six weeks or in five years?
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” – Confucius
When a legend like Usain bolt ran the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds in an ecstatic stadium atmosphere, did he attain that feat here and there in that stadium that day? When Michael Jordan won all six finals that he played in, do you think that was just a miracle that was following him all the days of his life, or did he get lucky? Was it because he was the most fervent prayer warrior in the world?
Recently I was enticed by some of my disciples to watch the Nigerian football national team, playing in different World Cup matches. Before I build my hopes up the sky, as is my tradition, I like to do some research. As I read through some of the interviews of the players, coaches, ecstatic fans and journalists, I discovered that our greatest hope of winning the World Cup was mostly connected to words like “talent”, “how good the players were”, “by God’s grace”, “prayer of Nigerians” etc. I could not see concrete tactical strategies or the superiority of preparations that would give them the edge to win the World Cup.
During the tournament, I noticed that some of these coaches were busy praying and fasting for the team to do well. Even before the tournament began I knew they would get out and not go far. Excellence in life doesn’t come by prayers. It comes by real life tangible work, not ecclesiastical things like prayers. Such things don’t produce excellence. Excellence demands, skills, quality, preparation, repetition. Those are the things that produce great public performance.
“You have to rely on your preparation. You got to really be passionate and try to prepare more than anyone else, and put yourself in a position to succeed, and when the moment comes you got to enjoy, relax, breathe and rely on your preparation so that you can perform and not be anxious or filled with doubt.” – Steve Nash
As great as celestial things like prayers are, they can only give you inspiration which is only about 2% of the factors of earthly success. Inspiration, prayer and anointing could only help when your skill and preparation level is at the highest standard. Much higher than that of your opponents.
“He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When Serena Williams won twenty Grand Slams, is it because she had a lot of prayer warriors in her backyard? Or because she had a lot of practice and preparation. Things like this don’t happen by miracles, they happen by the predictable laws of life. Again please allow me to say that I am not bashing prayer warriors or Christians at all. I believe in prayers and I am a praying person myself. Prayers would be necessary only after our best has been done in the natural realm, then prayer will work. But when we have not done the absolute best in our natural might, it is useless to call on God to come and do for us what we are supposed to do ourselves.
When Tiger Woods won the PGA player of the year for a record eleventh time, was it a matter of coincidence or was it because of a lifelong philosophy of sacrificial preparation? When Carl Lewis won four gold medals in four different events in the 1984 Olympics, was it just because he was born talented? Or because he had a private philosophy that allowed him to put up such a public performance. Remember there were so many talented people in that same Olympic event, but the secret life of preparation that was lived by Carl Lewis gave him the edge.
When Lionel Messi won four world player of the year awards, is it because he is Argentinian? Or is it because he had paid the price of discipline, sacrifice, endurance, self-denial, to sharpen his gift, that now enables him to receive those public accolades. PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE.
The Bible is a much more realistic book than many Christians would admit today. When I read Bible stories like the story of Joseph in Egypt and how God used him to become the prime minster of the nation, I kind of understand that differently to how most preachers I hear talk about it. Most people only see God’s miracle here. Whereas I see that besides God’s favor and anointing on Joseph, he also had his own part to play.
Specifically speaking, I don’t see how any human being could have constructed a storage system for a whole nation that stored food and produce for seven years, without some mathematical skills and engineering prowess. That story itself tells me that Christians must be well educated in science and technology, in mathematics and physics. Otherwise without some basic knowledge in this subject, even if God wants to use you to perform such a miracle as with Joseph, you will be at a loss. You will not even know where to start from. You will not know the calculations nor the formula. Meaning you will not be able to give the right instructions to your subordinates, engineers and constructors.
The fact that Joseph was able to deal with this challenge, tells me that prior to that, he had been taken through some form of preparation. He must have studied and must have developed his mind so that he could now be a vessel of honor in the hands of Almighty God.
Alas, in today’s church sometimes we over spiritualize realities, we behave as if we have lost our common sense. Another story that is very inspiring to me in the Bible is the story of Daniel. The whole chapter one of the book of Daniel was dedicated to explaining to us the vigorous preparations Daniel and his friends had to go through. Even though we did not have the privilege to read about Joseph’s stages of preparation, in this story God took His time to let us know that only PRIVATE PHILOSOPHIES PRODUCE PUBLIC PERFORMANCES.
Notice that Daniel actually subjected himself to a more stringent level of preparation than was required of him. No wonder that at the end of the day, he was found to be ten times smarter than his colleagues PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE.
Any public victory must first be attained in the privacy of preparation. The level of your success in private determines your public performance. What you practice in seclusion, what you believe in solitude, what you build into your character when alone, determines the glory you experience in the open.
“I believe success is preparation, because opportunity is going to knock on your door sooner or later but are you prepared to answer that?” – Omar Epps
Your public decisions, are only a result of your private philosophies that you either developed or refused to develop. Your visible actions are only a result of your invisible decisions. PRIVATE PHILOSOPHY DETERMINES PUBLIC PERFORMANCE.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja