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What does agility have in common with bamboo?

I have been a long term subscriber to the Farnam Street newsletter. This post is an adapatation of an article in their recent newsletter.

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Everyone looks for the miracle moment – the moment when success happens.

We are drawn to these moments because we want to know the secret. We want to know the ingredient that we are missing. The ingredient that makes the recipe.

The problem is … there is no miracle moment. If you want to understand success, you can’t focus on what’s visible.

Results are simply one more step in a long chain of steps that led to that moment.

Nature offers a great example with bamboo, which takes ups up to 5 years to develop its roots. For years, to the outside observer, no visible progress has been made. Meanwhile, the bamboo grows below the surface, developing its roots and storing energy. Then, all at once, it starts to grow. Years of stored energy result in exponential growth, sometimes reaching over 15 meters in a matter of weeks.

That’s how results happen. Slowly and then all at once.

There are two main lessons to take away:

Not all progress is visible

Don’t beat yourself up when things aren’t visible. One workout won't make you fit, but it is better than no workout. A small deposit in your bank account today won’t get you to your goal, but it moves you closer. The daily grind is part of the process.

Consistency is key

Most of the time, we know what we need to do. The problem is because we don't immediately see the results, we stop. It's as if we tell ourselves, "I ate healthily and went to the gym all week, and I'm still not as fit as I want, so what's the point?"

You have to be smart enough to know you're making progress without any obvious signs of progress.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built one brick at a time. The same applies to agility.

Adapted from Farnam Street Brain Food newsletter No. 497 — 6 November 2022.

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