Be Who You Are! Who is that?

Pine tree
Pine tree  


Go for Greatness: Be Who You Are!

who you think

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.

Can you tell the difference from this view?
Can you tell the difference from this view?

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! who-you-are.html#.UxDTd_ldXO4
Article by: Jackie Capers-Brown
Founder, Grow Forward & Flourish


Author: Angela Grant

I am a first generation Jamaican immigrant whose experiences and accomplishments were made possible by the courage, sacrifices and the heroic acts of many whose bodies have rotted away in unmarked graves. Those are my heroes. Their sacrifices and death paved the way for my children and I. Failure to Listen is a token of my eternal gratitude. Failure to Listen is a tribute those generations of unmarked graves occupied by people of all races whose ultimate sacrifice of life opened the door for me and others, THANK YOU. Failure to Listen uses cultural lenses to appreciate and understand the relationships between current events and our values, beliefs and attitudes. Culture is everything without it we are nothing. Failure to Listen will take you on a journey to recognize the beauty of our differences as the seeds to creativity, innovation and resolving disparities. By sharing my personal and professional experiences, I hope to do justice to the perspectives of those who are rarely heard or listened to. This site is not to incite anger but rather to provoke thought. It is my hope that Failure to Listen will work to foster intergroup dialogues and motivate readers to step outside the box and get to know ALL PEOPLE. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, let's join hands and remember his famous speech about a dream... A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

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