The Broken Tree: How to Be Patient with Yourself in Your Growth

Is it easier to give up than it is to keep moving forward?

I have a story I believe you’ll enjoy, hate, find cliché, or resonate with. 

Green and plump, the pomelo dangles, seven feet off the ground, from a branch so thin you fear it might snap if the fruit grows any bigger. But the trunk of the pomelo tree stands like a proud, burly figure, and during the sunny afternoons, dogs and stray cats find rest in its shade. You ought to wonder how much fruit can come from such a tree?

One. 

Only one green fruit, dangling seven feet off the ground and more than twenty years later. 

“The tree must be broken, grandma!” But grandmother would only smile and say to the little child, “It’s time will come.” 

I realize, at some point in our lives, we’ve all found (or still find) ourselves in the same place as the fruitless pomelo tree, asking—When will all my hard work pay off? When will my time come?

The season of waiting and working is often the hardest. 

But like the tree, we will be patient. We will take in the sun as it comes, and we will give ourselves the time and space to grow. 

A few months back, I came across the term “urgent patience,” and much like the look you have now—the scrunched eyebrows of confusion, I didn’t understand what it meant. 

Author John Kotter explains the term adeptly in his book A Sense of Urgency, “It means acting each day with a sense of urgency but having a realistic view of time.” 

How can we take that attitude of urgent patience and apply it to our lives in a way that will:

  • (a) not add to our stress, and the people around us 
  • (b) not make us feel like we’re running a rat race

The way I see it, urgent patience shapes a certain kind behavior totally opposite to false urgency. 

Urgent patience propels us to take all the necessary actions now in order to build our tomorrow. Wherein we understand the importance and urgency of a goal as well as the time we need to achieve it. 

In my life, urgent patience manifests itself in the work I do (AKA my blog). As much as I’d like to come up with a hundred articles at breakneck speed, it is way better to schedule (I’m working to be consistent with this one ?) and craft blog articles carefully so that it may continue to add value to the lives of my readers. 

For start-up entrepreneurs, urgent patience could mean waking up earlier every day to learn the trade, build a network, and market the product. While for someone who is working on getting healthier and stronger, urgent patience could mean taking small steps in lifestyle changes. 

Keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight. Growth is a process.