Dr. Rich Patterson


I was recently asked to speak to a large group of middle school students about determination.  As I thought about it I asked myself several questions: Where did it come from? How do I use it in my life? and  Why is it important?  What is determination?  It is to understand the challenge and know your purpose.  To really align in the deepest sense with your goal and thus develop the passion to reach that goal.

I recently heard a speaker talk about the Bamboo plant.  it starts out like most plants as a tiny seed planted in the earth.  It sits that in the dark environment surrounded by dirt with nearly no sunlight coming into it.  In fact, it sits there for four years without doing anything.  Nothing at all happens.  Most of us would likely throw the plant out and declare it dead because nothing happened.  But deep in the earth there is a lot happening.  It is developing the structural root system that will support its tremendous growth.  In the 5th year the plant can grow from 0 – 80 feet.  In fact, Bamboo is among the fastest growing plants in the world.  If can grow 36″ in a 24 -hour period.  As the largest member of the grass family, this is amazing.

What am I saying?  I want us to think about those times in our life when we’re doing the right things, when we’re struggling to make good choices and living a good life, but nothing seems to be happening.  In fact, we think we’re going backwards because we cannot see those roots, the character traits that are being developed.  When I think about that seed sitting there for four years with nothing happening, I think that a price must be paid.  If the plant is going to grow to 80 feet in a year, the roots better be deep.  It is the same in our life, the little day-to-day things that we do, like showing up on time, doing as we’re asked, giving our best effort, being kind and believing, regardless of our circumstances all add up to developing our root system and produce determination.

You see your secret weapon is your belief—your determination.  That is where your passion comes from and that is what will make things happen for you in your life.  There is no dream too big–only dreamers who quit dreaming.  You see, if you quit, or throw the plant out before the fifth year, you give up, then all the magic stops.  All the energy around making this happen ceases and quickly the dream fizzles.

Take yourself to the 5th year, even if you’re not there yet.  Think about how it will just take-off on day.  This will help to accelerate your plan, shift the expectancy to making it happen.  More on this topic later, but I hope this inspires you to be patient and know that things are happening when you’re young, even though it seems to take a long time, seems like things aren’t happening, believe that your 5th year is coming.