According to the dictionary, potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability to do whatever we want—dance, ski, or maybe master a piece of music. We’ve all heard the phrase “you can do anything you want to do.” I don’t totally believe that we can become anything we want. Could the ugly duckling become a swan if he tried hard enough? Could I be a master pianist if I wanted to? A scientist? Never. I know that anything that entails mathematics is not for me. The secret to achieve your potential is to develop a sense of what you are naturally like so that you can focus in areas in accord with your interests, talents, gifts, and strengths.
I have a wonderful book by David McNally, Even Eagles Need a Push, that I find myself referring to often. It’s about your power to create what you want for your life, and about discovering a true sense of purpose, the contribution that only you can make to the world. And it’s about courage, determination, and commitment. To quote from the book: “To be true to ourselves, a career should be planned within the context of our calling. Choosing to focus our talents toward what we love and believe in brings forth the creativity, energy, and commitment that are key characteristics of any successful career.”
It’s easy to feel aimless when you don’t have a concrete goal you’re working toward. Narrow in on what you’d like to accomplish in the near future. Maybe it’s to get fit, start your own business, or travel the world and write about it. The point is to get specific about exactly what you’d like to do and when. When you delay action, you make it harder to identify the things you’d enjoy doing. The only way to learn is to jump into something that sounds right and make adjustments as you go.
Curiosity is a wonderful thing. I’ve always read mysteries, thought about how fun it would be to write them, but wondered if I had the capability. To have a chance as a published author, I needed to be able to forget about end results—being published and widely read—and focus on the actual writing. If I spent all my time thinking about fulfilling my potential as a writer, I’ve lost focus on the story. Is it possible to reach our full potential?
”All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” ~Buddha