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This episode is a business coaching course that explains the acorn principle.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Recommended Reading: The Acorn Principle Know Yourself, Grow Yourself - Jim Cathcart
  • Lesson Nugget: In your life, the acorn's cap represents your coaches, mentors, parents, role models, and people you look to for examples.
  • Notable Quotable: "The seed of your future successes already lives within you."
  • Ask Yourself: Am I living my life in a way that contributes to the world?


-Well, an IQ test may tell you some things about your intellect. But it won't necessarily tell you how you are smart. But just by starting with some of these, you've got a head start on everybody else out there.


-Hi, I'm Jim Cathcart. I wrote a book called The Acorn Principle. And when you think about an acorn, an acorn has three parts. It has a stem, a cap, and a seed. And the stem connects the acorn to the tree. Through that stem comes the legacy of all the oaks that ever existed before that acorn. All of their imprint is passed along through the years into that little acorn.

And an acorn, of course, is a seed of potential of future oaks. But the acorn has, through that stem, a cap, and then a seed. Well, the cap holds on to the seed until it's really grow on its own. So the cap would represent, in your life, your coaches, your mentors, your parents, your role models, the people you look to for examples.

And when you're ready to grow on your own, that seed represents the potential that still lives within you. So nurture your nature, because that potential is not just yours. You are the beginning of a legacy that goes for years and years beyond your existence.

So think of this. Here's the Acorn Principle. The seed of your future successes already, right now, lives within you. What you do with your life matters a lot. It's vitally important that you learn to tap your potential and realize that you've been given the gift to live a life of abundance. And if you live too small of a life, you're not just cheating you. You're cheating the rest of the world.

See, you've got a role to play here. You've got the opportunity to touch the world in ways that will make a positive difference. You can brighten someone else's day. You can smile at someone who's looking down. You can pick up a piece of trash you didn't put down. There are so many little tiny ways, and big monumental ways that you and I can make a difference. When we don't live our life fully, we're cheating the rest the world out of our contribution. We have an obligation to them and an obligation to ourselves.

And I think if you and I learn to explore our nature, find out what kind of seed is in you and me, if we learn to develop and cultivate that nature, we'll find that we have the capacity to make a positive difference in this world. You were born for a reason.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Ask Yourself: How can I set myself up for future successes?
  • Notable Quotable: "Know thyself." - Socrates (one of the founders of Western philosophy)
  • Editor's Note: Thomas Armstrong is best known for translating Gardener's theory of multiple intelligences into practical applications for children, parents, and teachers.
  • Editor's Note: Howard Gardner is a developmental psychologist who is renown for his theory of multiple intelligences.
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences - : 2. Number: The ability to apply logic to systems and numbers.
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences: 1. People: The ability to relate well to others, people smarts.
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences: 3. Physical: The ability to use your body well.

-Hi, I'm Jim Cathcart. We're talking about the acorn principle. And when you think about the acorn principle, the seed of your future successes already lives within you. That's good. Maybe it's encouraging to hear that. But what does it actually mean? Well, when I'm thinking about what Thrivers need to know about the acorn principle, this is the principle itself. But let's go beyond that. What's the content? What do you do with that information? Well, if you realize there's potential in there that's unrealized yet, how do you tap it? First off, you need to recognize it. You need to find it, see it, recognize what it is. Your potential will be found in a number of different areas. There's ancient wisdom that's been passed down through the years. Comes from Socrates, "know thyself." Know thyself-- what does that mean? How do you know yourself? Well, there are things that I think we can know about ourselves that give us an edge on being able to optimize the potential that's within us. For example, smarts, intelligence-- most people, if they're trying to figure out what they're smart at, they will take a traditional IQ test or something like that. Well, an IQ test may tell you some things about your intellect. But it won't necessarily tell you how you are smart. It may tell you how smart you are, but not in what ways you are smart. So if you look at how are people smart, there are a number of ways. Howard Gardner's probably the best known person in that field. And his work in studying intellect identified seven, and then ultimately in a subsequent work, eight ways in which people are smart-- eight kinds of smart. Thomas Armstrong, another researcher and colleague of mine, wrote a book called Seven Kinds of Smart. And if you think about it, some people are what you might call people smart, meaning they're good with interpersonal communication. They're good with people. They know how to relate to people. They can sense what's going on with another person. And all of us are capable of being smart at that. But some people are just naturally really strong in that area. So we can learn more. But if that's a natural gift of ours, we've got an edge in many ways. Some people are number smart. Some are just really good with mathematics. They know how to think about numbers. They know how to do equations. They can calculate in their head, where a lot of other people have to really work it out on paper. So this is a type of intellect you can cultivate. But it's also a type of intellect that's natural to people. There's physical smarts. Physical smarts would be the kind of intelligence you would see in a gifted athlete, like a Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods or whoever-- some athlete that's especially good at using their body in particular ways. We can learn from people like that, because all of us have physical intelligence. And if we don't cultivate it, we never get much from it. But it can be developed.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences: 4. Musical: The ability to understand and use music.
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences: 5. Visual: The ability to see things in your mind.
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences: 6. Concept: The ability to understand thoughts and feelings in yourself.
  • Lesson Nugget: Learning from the great thinkers can dramatically change the way you think about business, decisions, and life.
  • Ask Yourself: What types of "smart" am I?
  • The Seven Multiple Intelligences: 7. Words: The ability to use words.

[MUSIC PLAYING] -Another way that people are smart is musical smart. My wife is musically smart. She can think about music in a way that seems like she's not even thinking about it, just sensing it, whereas I have to learn it more intentionally. But then again, I perform, and I play the guitar and sing, and so I'm using my musical smarts and actually doing paid engagements doing that, but I'm not gifted musically. And those who are, of course, can transcend anything I could do. But you and I are both capable of being much better at musical people and all these various types of smart. There's what's called visual smarts. Visual smarts would be the ability to see something in your mind. For example, a mechanic, many times, can look at an engine and in their head kind of see what's going on inside the engine. They can visualize that process and that helps them understand how to repair the engine or how to increase its performance. An architect can look at the landscape, and say, wow, what if we put a building here that did this? A designer, interior designer can see a space and visualize how to optimize that. Well, that's a learn-able intelligence. We can develop our own ability to be better at that. Some people are gifted at it. Great. Some people are not. But you don't have to be a prodigy at any of these to be better at it. There's a concept, or this is more of a philosophical kind of smart where you can think about ideas that are basic principles. You think about universal principles and things like that. Some people are especially good at that kind of conceptual thinking. And if you're particularly gifted at that, God bless you. You're going to make a difference in the world if you apply it. But you and I, as regular people, can also learn this by focusing on learning concepts, learning philosophy, studying the great philosophers of history. I went back years ago through a audio series. I got audio cassettes at the time. And it came from an outfit called Knowledge Products out of Tennessee. And it was the great philosophers. So they had Aristotle, and they had Socrates, and they had all the philosophers through the years. And they analyzed each one of them. What did they believe? How did that work? How did that compare to this other one and so forth? The more we learn about things like that, the more we understand ways to think about business, ways to think about relationships, ways to rethink our own life, and how we're going to make it an abundant life that's more satisfying for us and makes more of a difference in the world? So each of these are just types of smarts that we can learn to cultivate. So you've got interpersonal smart. You've got mathematical. You've got physical. You've got a conceptual, visual, musical. There are other types of smarts that we can cultivate as well. But just by starting with some of these, you've got a head start on everybody else out there because most people never even asked themselves, how am I smart? Am I particularly good at this, or that, or whatever it happens to be? So there's word smart. That's number seven. I was kind of searching for it in my mind there for a second. Word smart means you're particularly good at finding ways to articulate, finding ways to verbalize something so that you reach somebody more directly and more profoundly. Some folks can just come up with the right words. I think that's one that I'm kind of gifted at. And so as I focus on that, I get better at it more rapidly. But everybody can learn that. Now in traditional IQ, Intelligence Quotient, what they studied was they studied word smarts, and they studied mathematical smarts. And they give you an IQ rating based on those. Well, look at how much they missed. Wow. So you and I have the capacity by studying this little acorn and what's in it-- the potential that's within us to become better and smarter at the things that we do. And as we do, every one of these smarts that you cultivate a little bit more makes you capable of doing a little bit more in another category. So it transcends, you know, the one thing that you're working at today. If you become better at automotive repair, or better at banking, or better at, you know, whatever it happens to be, there are skills the transfer to other fields. So you become better at those as well. So just nurture your nature. Recognize what's in there. Start noticing more about it and then cultivate it.

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