Think about two acorns hanging from a mature oak. It’s early fall, and they both drop at the same time. One acorn rolls away from the base of the tree and ends up in some loose, moist soil. The other rolls onto an area of flat rock.
The acorn in the soil ends up in a spot that receives a perfect amount of sunlight through the canopy of the forest. The one on the rock sits in complete shade. The area on the rock is also slightly elevated, keeping that acorn from getting any water at all. The one in the soil sits perfectly between an elevated area, which is too dry, and a low spot, which fills full of water. This allows it to get just the right amount of water.
After some time, the acorn in the soil begins to sprout. A stem starts growing from the soil and climbing for the sky. Leaves begin to branch off the stem, and they continue to grow as well. This small oak sapling is in a position that gets a perfect amount of sunlight and water, and the soil is rich in the minerals it needs to flourish. During this same time period, the acorn on the rock becomes dried out. The seed within it withers and dies. The outer shell hardens, cracks, and falls apart. That acorn dies.
With so many acorns falling from the mature oak, you would think more would make it and become mature oaks themselves. However, the success of an acorn is dependent on many things. The conditions must be ideal.
Therefore, two acorns from the same branch, obviously containing the same genetic material, can fall at the same exact time, in the same area, yet have two very different outcomes. Ones dries out and dies, while the other grows and matures into a great oak.
This happens with humans, too. Two people can be the same age, race, and come from the same area, yet one can become successful in life and thrive, while the other struggles day to day just to make ends meet. One can become strong and healthy, with excitement, energy, and purpose, while the other is weak, often sick, and can’t seem to get on the right track. One has many friends, a great career, and an abundance of wealth. The other is lonely, bounces from job to job, and struggles daily.
Like the two acorns, their beginnings were very similar, but their outcomes very different. It would appear that one was lucky while the other was not. To this I would say you are right… when referring to the acorn. But it’s wrong when it comes to the human.
The acorn’s fate depends on the luck of the bounce. Just inches one way or another could mean the difference between life and death. The success of the acorn is dependent on the quality of the environment around it. Yet, it has no control over where it lands.
Our level of success is dependent on the quality of our environment as well. The big difference is that we have the amazing ability to change our environment. We often blame our poor financial situation, lack of success in a career, and poor level of health on everything from our upbringing and parents, to the economy and bad luck.
While there are many people who struggle that have come from bad homes, rough communities, and have had a great deal working against them, there are many, many success stories of people with just as bad, or worse, beginnings.
The bottom line is your environment plays a huge role in your level of success. The great news is that you have the ability to change your environment. Unlike the unlucky acorn who landed on the rock, you can get up and move. You can re-plant yourself in a fertile environment. You do not have to wait and hope for sunlight and water, but can get up and go get it. The food you eat, the amount you move, how hard you work, the people you surround yourself with, and your attitude are a matter of choice… not chance!