It is important to discover your nature because your nature is youressence. It is what you bring into every situation, every thought, and everyrelationship. It is who you are.

As individuals we can activate our self-awareness by looking at ourpersonal core competencies, the things we are naturally suited for. Yourindividual nature is the seed of silent promise, the acorn that holds greatpossibilities. The seeds of your future successes already live within andaround you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that: “Desire is possibility seeking expression.” In his book “The Acorn Principle,” Jim Cathcart tells us that in one growing season an oak will produce thousands of acorns. Some willbecome food for squirrels. Some will decay and replenish the soil. Stillothers will eventually become oaks, each of which in turn will producethousands more acorns. All of them will serve the environment in their ownway. What determines their fate? He would ask.

Cathcart believes that each acorn contains within it the potential to become a mighty oak.However, whether it does so depends upon a multitude of variables. Weather, soil,insects, diseases, and the behaviors of those around it; all have an impact.But every acorn nonetheless contains oak potential.

He says that in the same way, you also carry the potential to have a mighty influencein the world. The seeds of that potential already live within you and aroundyou. In fact, you already have the thought seeds that can make you rich.You already know some of the people who can help your greatest dreamscome true. But unlike the acorn, which is at the mercy of the elements,whether youfully develop your potential is mostly in your own hands.


People have the capacity to shape, change, or adapt to their circumstancesevery day. Our lives are the result of what we each have done dayto daywith the seeds and circumstances life has dealt us. Everyone iscapable of a life of great significance, each in his or her own unique way.

Within you lives a world of potentialities. Talents, ideas, and skills youmay not recognize comprise you already. Your success and fulfillment will notdepend on changing your nature; they will come from discovering who youalready are. You may not fundamentally change, but your use of what lieswithin you certainly will.

To live the life of your dreams you do not need to be somebody else.You do not need to be smarter than you are or have a different personality.All you need to do to achieve your greatest goals is use what you have gotexceptionally well.

The great achievers of our time are not typically people who arefantastically intelligent, amazingly charming, and cunningly manipulative.Most big successes are people who simply apply their natural talents andabilities in intelligent ways. They are people who care about others, arewilling to pay their own way, and who refuse to think in terms of what cannotbe done. For them there is always a way — somewhere, somehow.

The same is true for you. If you sincerely want something, the potentialto bring it into reality exists within you and in those with whom you canconnect. The more you explore your nature, your relationships, and thepatterns in your life, the more you will be able readily to tap that potential.Determine what natural gifts you already possess and what resources youalready have access to.


Self-awareness—knowing your nature, your abilities, and how you willreact to people and things—may well be the greatest life management skill.The better you know yourself, the better decisions you make. The betterdecisions you make, the better your life will be.

It is believed that, as compared to people who donot know themselves very well, people who are self-aware: are better listeners; are less self-conscious; and tend to be less judgmental of others. In short, people who are self-aware are more likely to succeed and live anabundant life than those who are not. They are also much easier to workwith.

Every day you face choices: people to see or not see, places to go, thingsto do, ways to deal with whatever life gives you. The more effectively youmake those choices, the more appealing your outcomes will be.

Someone once asked the famous humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzerwhat he felt was “wrong with people today.” He replied, “Most peoplesimply donot think.”

On many levels, of course, all of us think. But what most of us neglectto think about is HOWwe think. Self-analysis is what is needed. If we wereto recognize the patterns in our own thinking and our own feelings, wewould understand so much more about ourselves. We could save ourselvesa lot of pain by making better life choices and avoiding or redirectingrelationships that were destined for difficulty.


There is something paternal about a big tree. It offers shelter, warmth,shade, and protection from the rain. It changes and grows. As it does, itprevents soil erosion, provides nutrients for insects and animals, andgenerates oxygen to renew the atmosphere.

Cathcart believes that the tree is a useful metaphor for personal growth and abundant living.“Just as the tree sleeps within the acorn, your future possibilities live within and around you.”His book, ‘The Acorn Principle,’ is about finding and developing the naturalpotential in yourself and others. It is about knowing yourself so well thatyour life becomes a perfect reflection of your acorn, the seed within you.

The “Cathcart Acorn Principle” is simply this: people who know themselves grow themselves, so know your nature; the seeds of your future successes already live withinand around you, so explore your nature; and your greatest, fastest, and easiest growth will always come from your natural abilities,so nurture your nature.

It is awe inspiring to realize that the same atomic and subatomic particlesthat compose hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, helium, and other elements caneither make up a blazing sun or a human being. It is all basic elements. Evenmore profound is the fact that you are composed of the exact same elementsas the greatest people of all time have been. We all share the same basicbuilding blocks, but how we are formed as individuals is what makes usunique.

For centuries a debate has raged in philosophical and scientific circles.Is a person the result of the genetic structures within her, or the result of her environment and her experiences, the process of living? This controversy is known as the nature versus nurture debate.  Cathcart, on his part,believes that the whole debate itself is a waste of energy because we are really the result of both our nature and our nurturing.

So we are born with certain potentialities—our natures—then we growfrom there. We either nurture our nature or prune it depending on theexperiences we have and our reactions to them. Sometimes our choices areconsistent with our nature; sometimes they are inconsistent with it.

This process of self-awareness can lead to self-understanding, self-understanding leads to self-direction, and self-direction leads to self-respect, a sense of being worthwhile, capable, and confident. People who understand and respect themselves make better decisions and get along better with other people. When you have discovered and developed your nature, not only will the rest of the world value and admire you, you will respect yourself as well.

By Captain Sam Addaih RTD.

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