Go for Greatness: Be Who You Are!
The above article provided food for thought. The article is well written, inspirational and cautions against unrealistic goals. The story is about an acorn who wants to grow into a pine tree. As much as the acorn tried and as much as the acorn prayed, the acorn did not and would never grow into a pine tree.
The moral of the story is acceptance of who you are–an acorn– and grow into the best oak tree. Several problems immediately come to mind with that concept which differs from the quote in the above image on the left.
Often people do not know if they are acorns or pine nuts. The two can appear indistinguishable in early stages, without shells or in different settings with inclement weather compounding mis-identification.
For humans the same is true, we often do not know who or what we are in the early years. Similar to seeds, environments shape and mold our final selves–perceptions of ourselves. Environments are physical or virtual spaces– related to culture. Cultures are cumulative and acquired experiences, dependent and molded by environments.
The health and productivity of environments are heavily dependent on following:
1. Access to impartial opportunities including the acquisition of new capabilities, mentors, and training;
2. Exposure to diverse environments that include relationship building or interactions with people from varied walks of life;
3. Resources to create sustainable infrastructures and systems where markers of success include:
a. Relevant education to decrease high risk behaviors and;
b. Self-efficacy– a perception of one’s ability to successfully perform desired tasks; For example, a person with multiple unsuccessful attempts at losing weight; eventually, feel weight loss is a discouragingly impossible goal.
4. Community is connection, support and the source of human interactions–all crucial in reducing societal stress of human existence.
Barren, crime-infested, impoverished environments –particularly without police protection– are toxic, chronically stressful unhealthy environments. These neglected environments foster adaptations of skill-sets not normally valued in the general society although crucial to survival in these toxic environments.
In addition, early exposure (to these toxic environments) at conception and throughout the first 5 years are known to result in under-developed and/or poorly functioning brain circuits pivotal to memory, learning, interpretation and processing information. (Brain circuits are neuronal pathways that perform vital functions such as filtering external stimuli for relevance–this determines perception.)
Children growing up in disadvantaged communities identify with their environments. They become products of those environments. Based on the article, is that who–all– they are? (Products of toxic environments) No, there are unknown, untapped, and undiscovered potential in everyone, enabling one to avoid the toxicities. Furthermore, difficulty distinguishing between acorns and pine nuts creates battles with one’s self identity.
Yes, it is possible to transform oneself into almost anything so why can an acorn not grow into a pine-tree? Praying and wishing will never hurt, but planning and action accomplish things. With access to knowledge and resources… combined with motivation/passion, patience and persistence…anything is possible.
Alternatively, am I the acorn wishing and praying to grow into a pine tree?
Article: Go for Greatness: Be Who You Are!
Article by: Jackie Capers-Brown
Founder, Grow Forward & Flourish