Legend has it that several hundred years ago, in the heart of rural England, there lived an old man who had lost his entire family to the plague. Too old to start again, the man knew that his family name would die out with him and that he would soon be forgotten about. It would be as though he had never existed at all. Saddened by this prospect the old man decided to leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy: Something worthwhile, something that would make a difference, something to show that he had lived, even though he would always remain anonymous and never see the fruits of his labour.

It is said that for the remaining years of his life the old man travelled around the countryside, moving from one village to another, planting acorns along the way. Whenever he saw a likely spot, where he imagined future generations would enjoy some shade, he would plant maybe a dozen acorns, knowing that possibly only one or two would grow to maturity. And when he was out in the meadows and came upon a magnificent oak with fruit too abundant to carry away, it’s said that he would stay under the tree for a few days and plant the surrounding area until the supply of acorns dried up.

Tradition has it that today many of the fine English oaks surrounding our villages and some of the dense oak woods and forests that still exist are the old man’s legacy that he left for future generations to enjoy. Maybe his seed did pass on after all!

R. Ian Seymour

Excerpt from “Maximise Your Potential” by R. Ian Seymour