Plant Like A Bamboo Essay About Myself
Are You a Bamboo Personality Type?
If you’re a coach or healer or want to help people in any way, it can be so valuable to learn how to “read” them.
We all know that Chinese medicine can read (diagnose) your health – but what most people don’t know is that it also developed a way to read your spirit.
There are hidden meanings in the patterns in your face and birth date that can help you understand who you really are inside.
And you can learn to read these in other people as well, so you can work with them in the most authentic and heart-based way.
In your birth date, there are messages in the year you were born, and in the month you were born, and even more in the day you were born.
All these messages weave together to show you why you are the way you are, where you tend to go wrong, and how you can change to create a life that’s a fit for you.
To get the complete picture of who someone is, we read the patterns in both their birth date and their face, but even just knowing JUST the birth year can reveal so much.
Were you born in one of these years?
So let’s look at some things we can read in the birth year alone.
For example, were you born in 1996, 1987, 1978, 1969, 1960, 1951 or 1942 or do you know someone who was? Read this description and see if you can relate:
Most (not all) people born in these years are said to have a “Bamboo” nature. What does that mean?
Well, one thing we know about a bamboo tree is how flexible it is. Its long trunk bends and sways in the breeze.
That’s actually the secret to its success – its ability to be flexible and adaptable. It can’t get knocked down or broken in a storm like an oak tree can. It doesn’t break – it just bends with the wind.
So if you’re a Bamboo person, this means you can come across as easygoing and adaptable.
For example, you can deal with a wide variety of personality types because you naturally adjust to accommodate them. People often love anyone with bamboo energy because they’re so easy to get along with.
This “bendability” also benefits you in terms of problem-solving. You’re not rigid in your outlook and you can adjust to changing circumstances.
Because of this you can find success working within organizations or bureaucracies like the government or corporations. It’s not that you enjoy those kinds of limitations but you’re able to work within the system. You can bend to get around the rules or adjust your plan to stay within the required structure.
If you have a bamboo theme to your nature you may find your life goes in curves rather than in straight lines.
Just like the bamboo changes direction according to how the breeze blows, there’s a changeability to this kind of energy, so you may end up moving more often than other kinds of people, or changing careers several times.
You probably won’t be the kind of person who settles into one job at age 21 and gets the gold watch 50 years later!
You may get criticized by family and friends for not settling down or being able to stick to one career but that’s not the plan for you. The breeze blows, the bamboo bends and there’s a change of direction. That’s how you’re supposed to do your life.
The need to stand firm
But every human characteristic has downsides to it. And in this case, one downside is that you can over-accommodate other people. You can be too bendable, give up too much to make way for others’ needs and wants.
Alternatively, you can be too easily influenced by other people’s opinions. Or you may change your mind too easily, or become indecisive.
There’s also the chance that you don’t always stick with what you’ve started when you actually should. You continue on for a while but then bend to go in a different direction.
If you do this too often, your life becomes one with too many changes and no goals achieved.
If you’re a Bamboo person, one thing you’ll need to learn is when not to bend, when to stay with something, or how to stand firm for your own needs or what you know is right.
There’s another interesting thing about a bamboo tree. It’s not like most other trees where there’s a tall trunk and then the branches start to form high up in the tree.
Instead, right from the base of the trunk it starts branching out. There are hundreds of small branches growing out of the trunk from the bottom to the top.
If you’re a Bamboo personality type, this means is that you’re a great problem-solver because you can always see more than one option in any situation.
You excel at finding many possibilities, to come up with one idea to put into motion but if that Plan A doesn’t work, you can pull out a Plan B or C, or D!
All those branches also mean you naturally have a very complex thinking process, able to analyze in intricate ways and hold many different thoughts at once. You’re a very good thinker!
But one downside is that you can be so good at complex thinking that you think and think and think and think – and then think some more! You can overthink everything, and not take action.
“Let me think about it…”
To you there’s never just one choice, one direction to go – there are so many to think about! So procrastination, indecisiveness or changing your mind too often can be a challenge.
One of the most common comments you’ll hear from a Bamboo person is “Let me think about it.” This can drive their family and friends crazy as they watch them just spinning their wheels!
If you have some bamboo energy in your nature, it’s so important to remind yourself that at some point you just have to choose one thing and do it. You can reassure yourself by remembering that even if it turns out that there are problems down the road – you’re the expert at coming up with Plan B! You can handle it!
Bamboo grows incredibly fast. In some cases, bamboo can grow 4 feet in one day.
To accomplish that, there is a powerful inner tension within the plant, like a coiled spring to keep pushing it up and up and up.
What that means for a person with bamboo energy is that there’s a powerful inner tension in them too.
This is what helps them think so intensely. But that tension can have a downside in that it makes them hold a lot of tension against themselves.
People with a Bamboo type of personality tend to be way too hard on themselves, beating themselves up for every little thing.
One “cure” for this is to stay active both physically and mentally – to have an outlet for all that inner tension and to distract yourself from self-judgmental thoughts. If you don’t, over the years, it can eventually lead to depression.
Coaching a Bamboo Person
If you’re trying to coach or help a Bamboo person in any way, what does this mean for you?
First of all, their flexibility can make them always seem to agree with you, to go along with what you’re saying.
You need to know that inside their heads, however, they may be analyzing everything you say. Bamboo people are often more skeptical than they appear, because they’re aware that they can be too easily influenced.
So you’ll need to be able to establish credibility with them, and show them the logic of what you’re proposing.
And it may be they’ll agree to the action plan you’ve created for them, but then procrastinate or get distracted and never get going.
Bamboo people struggle with self-doubt. At first that plan seemed like the right thing to do, but now they’re not so sure, so they decide to wait to think about it some more.
And that tendency toward self-judgment, being so hard on themselves, can make them waver. As they meet the unavoidable little glitches that happen with any plan, they can too easily beat themselves up for what isn’t their fault at all.
So they try at all costs to not end up in that painful place of self-blame. But that usually equates to the choice of “no action = no chance of pain.” Until of course they start beating themselves up for not taking action! It can be a vicious circle.
The bamboo needs the freedom to sway with the breeze but to grow in solid ground with strong roots. And its trunk bends but it’s not weak and floppy! There is that strong inner tension and a naturally structured plan for its design.
What this means is that Bamboo personality types need two important things from a coach or any helper:
1 – Grounded advice, solid and well thought out. Nothing too woo-woo; it’s got to have a proven foundation to it.
The bamboo sways with the breeze but it’s rooted in the firm ground. Bamboo people do best with experienced mentors who have established credibility with their work.
Unconsciously they know how changeable they are, so they need to be sure you’re not!
2 – A structured, step-by-step plan. Bamboo people do best when the work toward their goal is organized into small steps over time.
Don’t give them complicated projects because I promise you, their brilliant brain is far better at “complicated” than you are! They will take your complex plan and make it even more so.
So instead, literally come up with “Step 1” – “Step 2” – “Step 3” etc.
If you do these two things for your Bamboo person, you may end up with a lifelong client! Of course, they’ll probably next be contacting you about their new career or upcoming move!
Are you a Bamboo?
If you relate to the above but you weren’t born in one of the years listed, we may find these patterns by reading your face instead. They can be found in your birth date, or your features, or both.
There’s so much more to know about the Bamboo personality type. And there are eight other types as well! This is what I teach in my workshops.
If you’d like to learn how to coach, counsel or help transform people’s lives, it’s essential to know how to understand each of them because of course there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to human beings.
I hope you’ll join me at one of the Discover Your Inner Design workshops – Click here to see more!
The forests that surround our village here in Nara, Japan are filled with beautiful bamboo. The symbolism of the bamboo plant runs deep and offers practical lessons for life and for work. I shared some of the lessons learned from the bamboo in this 12-minute TEDxTokyo talk below which was recorded (and streamed) live from Tokyo on May 21, 2011. You can see the slides I used in this talk below on Slideshare.net. These slides were made in Photoshop and Keynote and exported as a PDF file for Slideshare. Following the video and slides below, I give a very short summary of the "bamboo lessons" from the presentation.
Lessons from the Bamboo (TEDxTokyo)
Be Like Bamboo (TEDxTokyo slides)
View more from Garr on Slideshare.net
(1) Remember: Size is not the most important element
What may look weak may actually be strong. The body of even the largest type of bamboo—which is actually a type of grass—is not large compared to the other much larger trees in the forest. But the plants endure cold winters and extremely hot summers and are often the only trees left standing in the aftermath of a huge storm. Remember the words of a great Jedi Master: "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size do you?" We must be careful not to underestimate others or ourselves based only on old notions of what is weak and what is strong. You do not have to be big and imposing to be strong. You may not be from the biggest company or the product of the most famous school, but like the bamboo, stand tall, believe in your own strengths, and know that you are—or you can be—as strong as you need to be. Remember too that there is strength in the light, in openness and transparency. There is strength in kindness, compassion, and cooperation.
(2) Bend but don't break
One of the most impressive things about bamboo is how it sways with the breeze. This gentle swaying movement is a symbol of humility. The foundation of the bamboo is solid, yet it moves and sways harmoniously with the wind, never fighting against it. In time, even the strongest wind tires itself out, but the bamboo remains standing tall and still. A bend-but-don't-break or go-with-the-natural-flow attitude is one of the secrets for success whether we're talking about bamboo, answering tough questions in a Q&A session, or just dealing with the everyday vagaries of life.
(3) Be firmly rooted yet flexible
Bamboo is remarkable for its incredible flexibility. This flexibility is made possible in part due to the bamboo's complex root structure which is said to make the ground around a bamboo forest very stable. Roots are important, yet in an increasingly mobile world many individuals and families do not take the time or effort to establish roots in their own communities. The challenge, then, for many of us is to remain the mobile, flexible, international travelers and busy professionals that we are while at the same time making the effort and taking the time to become involved and firmly rooted in the local community right outside our door.
(4) Slow down your busy mind
We have far more information available than ever before and most of us live at a fast pace. Even if most of our work life is on-line, life itself can seem quite hectic, and at times chaotic. Often it is difficult to see the signal through all the noise. In this kind of environment, it is all the more important to take the time to slow down, to calm your busy mind so that you may see things more clearly. There is an old Taoist saying that speaks to this idea of clarity and slowing down: "We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see."
(5) Be always ready
As the Aikido master Kensho Furuya said in Kodo: Ancient Ways,"The warrior, like bamboo, is ever ready for action." In presentation or other professional activities, too, through training and practice we can develop in our own way a state of being ever ready. Through study and practice we can at least do our best to be ready for any situation. No matter how good we think we are today, the training and the spirit to improve remains with us always.
(6) Find wisdom in emptiness
It is said that in order to learn, the first step is to empty ourselves of our preconceived notions. One can not fill a cup which is already full. The hollow insides of the bamboo reminds us that we are often too full of ourselves and our own conclusions; we have no space for anything else. In order to receive knowledge and wisdom from both nature and people, we have to be open to that which is new and different. When you empty your mind of your prejudices and pride and fear, you become open to the possibilities. Bruce Lee used to remind people that "The usefulness of the cup is its emptiness."
(7) Commit yourself to growth & renewal
Bamboo are among the fastest-growing plants in the world. It does not matter who you are — or where you are — today, you have remarkable potential for growth. We usually speak of Kaizen or continuous improvement that is more steady and incremental, where big leaps and bounds are not necessary. Yet even with a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, our growth — like the growth of the bamboo — can be quite remarkable when we look back at what or where we used to be. You may at times become discouraged and feel that you are not improving at all. Do not be discouraged by what you perceive as your lack of growth or improvement. If you have not given up, then you are growing, you just may not see it until much later. How fast or how slow is not our main concern, only that we're moving forward.
(8) Express usefulness through simplicity
Aikido master Kensho Furuya said that "The bamboo in its simplicity expresses its usefulness. Man should do the same." Indeed, we spend a lot of our time trying to show how smart we are, perhaps to convince others — and ourselves — that we are worthy of their attention and praise. Often we complicate the simple to impress and we fail to simplify the complex out of fear that others may know what we know. Life and work are complicated enough without our interjecting the superfluous. If we could lose our fear, perhaps we could be more creative and find simpler solutions to even complex problems that ultimately provide the greatest usefulness for our audiences, customers, patients, or students.
(9) Unleash your power to spring back
Bamboo is a symbol of good luck and one of the symbols of the New Year celebrations in Japan. The important image of snow-covered bamboo represents the ability to spring back after experiencing adversity. In winter the heavy snow bends the bamboo back and back until one day the snow becomes too heavy, begins to fall, and the bamboo snaps back up tall again, brushing aside all the snow. The bamboo endured the heavy burden of the snow, but in the end it had to power to spring back as if to say "I will not be defeated."
(10) Smile, laugh, play
The Kanji (Chinese character) for smile or laugh is 笑う. At the top of this character are two small symbols for bamboo (竹 or take). It is said that bamboo has a strong association with laughter, perhaps because of the sound that the bamboo leaves make on a windy day. If you use your imagination I guess it does sound a bit like the forest laughing; it is a soothing sound. Bamboo itself also has a connection with playfulness as it has been used for generations in traditional Japanese kite making and in arts and crafts such as traditional doll making. We have known intuitively for generations of the importance of smiling, laughing, and playing, now modern science shows evidence that these elements play a real and important role in one's mental and physical health as well.
These are just ten lessons from the bamboo; one could easily come up with dozens more. These are not things that we do not all ready know. Yet, like many a good sensei, the bamboo simply reminds us of what we already know but may have forgotten. Then it is up to us to put these lessons (or reminders) of resilience into daily use through persistence and practice. You do not need to be perfect. You need only to be resilient. This is the greatest lesson from the bamboo.