When bamboo is in even the worst of storms, it rarely breaks. Instead of breaking, amidst wild winds, it bends. The next day, if you were to return to look at the bamboo, there would be virtually no sign of damage. We want our minds to behave the same way, not necessarily by being mentally tough, but instead by being mentally flexible. Mental flexibility is the ability to shift a course of thought or action according to the changing demands of a situation. Check out these tips that we can all take from bamboo and work to create a bamboo mind.
Bamboo is said to be stronger than steel – Engineers have found that bamboo is stronger than steel in regard to tensile strength. Tensile strength can be defined as the resistance offered by an object to break or split under pressure. While steel has a tensile strength of 23,000 pounds, bamboo surpasses it by a significant margin at 28,000 pounds. Just like bamboo, by striving to be mentally flexible, we are actually creating a stronger base for ourselves mentally that will be more durable over time.
It thrives in a storm – Bamboo is one of the most flexible natural resources out there, but it isn’t just its flexibility that allows bamboo forests to survive in even the worst storms. When strong winds hit, the tall, thin structure doesn’t fight against them, but instead bends in the same direction that the wind blows. Having a bamboo mind means we work with challenges rather than fighting against them. We have to know that the storm is going to pass. Do you embrace the challenge like the bamboo forest, or do you reject it, fighting against something that will just deplete you of energy the more you push? Do you bend in the eye of the storm, or crack until you break?
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world – I think back to a time in college where in rural Pennsylvania a bunch of fraternity brothers decided to take a small bamboo plant from geology class and give it a new home in their backyard. What started as a lighthearted joke turned south very quickly, when in less than a month the entire backyard of the fraternity house looked like a jungle from Kung Fu Panda. What the free-spirited fraternity brothers failed to realize prior to taking out their gardening shovels is that bamboo is one of the fastest growing plant species in the world, sometimes growing at a rate of about 1.5 inches in an hour. Not only does it grow quickly, it spreads just as fast and can survive in almost any climate or terrain. Like the bamboo in the backyard of rural PA, having a bamboo mind means that you can accept any situation and find a way to thrive. Working together with your teammates to be mentally flexible will only make you stronger, a forest to be reckoned with, in the end.