This post is inspired by The Acorn Principle book.

“This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow –
as the night the day – thou cans’t not be false to any man.”

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare


You are an acorn

The acorn principle tells you to look inside and discover what is the seed of your being. The metaphor is for you being an acorn who is going to develop into an oak tree. If you provide the right conditions and circumstances that fulfill and exceed the needs of an acorn, you are going to become a magnificent oak tree. Or in other words, your fastest, easiest and most enjoyable growth comes from your natural talents and skills.

The challenge however is that we do not appreciate this little acorn seed inside us as we feel attracted by the skills and features of other trees. We usually think they are better equipped, more talented or more successful than we are. Other trees look much more impressive than we, more flexible, much stronger, or better rooted. We look at other trees and want to be like them. So, we struggle.

Others make you believe you are a pine

Parents, teachers, managers, supervisors and other authorities often project on us what they believe is good for us. They see us through their own perception filters, ideas, unfulfilled dreams or ambitions. They want to shape us accordingly. So, they often get it backwards.

They look at the little acorn that they see inside you and say “Oh, I see a great potential in you. You are already knowledgeable and can learn fast. If you learn more of the pine trade, follow the pine courses, with some hard work you can become a fantastic pine tree. And yes, we need more pine trees around. They make a good living.”

The truth is that an acorn can only become an oak tree no matter what you want it to become. If you focus on modelling the pine approach and learning the pine skills, even if they serve you well, they will not help you identify with the oakness in you. You will become a hugely underdeveloped oak tree with a great set of pine skills, perhaps.

But …

you will miss a mark as you will neither become a pine tree nor a satisfied oak tree. This may lead you to chaos, confusion or even identity crisis. You may hope to look like a pine tree but since you hold an oak consciousness inside, you may become a hybrid tree at best, feeling alien both with pines and with oaks.

Now, the manager / teacher / parent / supervisor will say, “So, you need to become a giant pine tree. There is a great future for pine trees indeed. I am going to help you to develop your pine skills.” A parent may say “Pine trees are evergreen and have such an easy life. You need to go to this school as it is the best in town for pine trees. You also need to polish your pine tree language so that you can communicate better with pine trees. And you need tutoring from pine math to optimize the position and growth of your branches. We will help you to become the most beautiful pine tree in the area.”

A manager may say “You need to start networking with pine trees. Start modelling their skills and approaches to problem solving. Take a successful Pine tree to a lunch and learn the secrets. And here is the training, The Tricks and Techniques of the Pine Trees, that you need to go through. And here is a book with short biographies of the greatest Pine Trees ever. Please study also The Power of Positive Pine thinking by Albert Pine.”

You are going to become an oak tree

But the truth is pretty obvious. Inside, you are going to be an oak tree, no matter the conditioning, affirmations, training, hanging out with pine trees around and so on. The training into the secrets of pine trees may be valuable and widen your horizons broadly. I don’t want you to discard this. Learning the skills of other trees will only help you to become a wise, knwoledgable and strong tree. But you need to develop your oakness first! This is your foundation.

If you are pushed in a direction of pineness without being aware of the oakness inside you, you may end up dissatisfied and confused at least, or deeply unhappy and depressed at worst. And as a result you will become an insecure, weak and weird oak tree.

Nurture your oakness

A better question of a parent / teacher/ manager is “What is the true nature of your being?” or “How can I cultivate this nature into the best potential?”. The parent may say “Oh, I recognize a little acorn seed in you. How great it is! Let’s sign up for an acorn development course and see how you like it.” The manager may say then “I see an acorn seed in you. Let’s investigate how to make your acorn skills stronger.”

Now parents, teachers, managers, supervisors or authorities can perfectly use the same techniques as before to encourage the development of our seed. But now with the focus on an acorn. This is going to be a great journey because the nature is nurtured in the best way.

In reality we have many seeds inside us. It takes time to recognize who we are and what we aspire for. It takes time to accept ourselves and know ourselves. It takes courage to look behind the veil of conditioning, society and cultural norms, pleasing family and others and so on. It takes courage to accept who we are: our consciousness, our past, our deeds, our ideas, our purpose and our vision.

Through self-retrospection and quieting of mind, being alone in the nature, you can start to listen to a little voice inside you. You, who wants to emerge from the shells of an acorn into a powerful oak tree. Let it happen.

The moral

The moral of this story is twofold. First, it is about knowing oneself and being authentic. Secondly, it is appreciating the authenticy of others. So, the challenges are to:

1. Know yourself. Appreciate who you are. Be authentic.
Grow into a magnificent oak tree.

  • Take the time to find out who you are. Every journey begins with questions.

Who are you?
What do you want from life?
What are your desires?
What are your ambitions?
What do you want to experience?
What do you want to develop?
How do you want to see yourself in one year time, 5-year time and 10-year time?

2. Value yourself as you are. Value others as they are. We are all God’s seeds in development.

It is your task to help yourself and others grow along the natural talents and gifts so that we can all become the most magnificent trees ever, having their own places in the Forest.

Remember this is the Forest we all live in.

Let it be a great place.


Photo courtesy Happy Days Photos and Art, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.


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