Steven Griggs | Free SpiritTM
Reaching Your Potential?
Written by Steven Griggs | stevengriggs.com
“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.”
“There comes a moment in every life when the Universe presents you with an opportunity to rise to your potential, an open door that only requires the heart to walk through, seize it and hang on. The choice is never simple. It’s never easy. It’s not supposed to be. But those who travel this path have always looked back and realized that the test was always about the heart. ...The rest is just practice.”
I always cringe when I hear people talking about someone not reaching their full potential or commenting in a serious and knowing way about how it was "just so sad and such a waste, because so and so had so much potential…" .
We sometimes hear these words from friends and family who are trying to motivate or inspire us to do better, to overcome whatever it is that’s holding us back- “you have so much potential….”.
Notice that comments about potential never come from within us. We do not go around talking to ourselves about reaching our full potential. I suppose some people do but my point is that thinking about our potential or judging ourselves about how we are using our potential always originates from someone else’s opinion.
Plus, it is so egotistical to talk about someone else’s potential. Who made them the expert on potential?
These are really very powerful and negatively charged words and I do not believe these comments really do anything to inspire us to seek our potential.
Instead I think they undermine us and reinforce that we aren't reaching our potential, that we are failing in some way.
We all possess amazing powers to create and build. Everyone one of us contains massive potential.
The key to it all is passion.
Without passion our powers lie quietly hidden, waiting for the moment when they are sparked alive and burst forth.
Let me ask you a question: Are you reaching your potential?
It’s a loaded question because I believe no matter who you ask they will answer that they aren't.
For one, who wants to say “Yes! I have reached my full potential, this is it, I’m at my peak!”
Unless it is really true. But this can be a hard one to understand because most of us will judge and probably say to ourselves- “Really? That’s your full potential?” But who knows anything about someone else’s potential?
You can never know and you can never say.
It’s just so wrong and arrogant to judge someone else or even comment on what you think their potential is or about any aspect of their life for that matter.
They could be massively happy and contented doing whatever it is they are doing. And I would be willing to bet that they are not even thinking about potential.
But no one has the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else or project on to someone their interpretation of that person’s potential.
As far as the question, I think although most people will say that they haven’t reached their potential, they may not know what their potential is or even what that could look like but they will have a feeling that they have more to give, more to do in this life.
But how does one reach their potential?
First of all forget the phrase “Reach your potential”. It undermines you immediately. You know you aren't there yet and that creates a negative reinforcement. It sets you up for self-recrimination and guilt because instinctively you know you could be and do more but for whatever reason you aren't there yet.
Again, by saying these words to yourself and then reacting you are buying into someone else’s opinion, maybe your parents, teacher, spouse, friend, whomever.
Plus, can you really ever reach your potential?
No, I don't believe you can.
First of all it’s limitless.
Second, it doesn't kick in until you find your purpose or your passion.
Third, once it kicks in you can never reach "it". Because it never ends, it is an expanding power. It grows as you do, as your passion and engagement increases so does your potential and vice versa. Each feeds the other.
Your potential always exceeds your current ability.
That’s just how it works. You reach and stretch, then reach and stretch again.
When someone says something is impossible or unrealistic or out of reach, remember that these are just opinions, not necessarily facts.
But if you aren't engaged in something you are passionate about or care deeply about right now, you probably aren't there yet, you haven’t found your passion but you will.
The answer is in you. Maybe it’s not visible yet but deep inside you know.
Maybe you have some things that you are interested in doing or something that tickles your imagination and is calling out to you.
Maybe you have some ideas or plans that you had long ago that somehow got put on the back burner for 20 years.
Look closely at your daydreams.
Pay attention to the things that get you excited, the things that make you talk faster and louder.
But whatever it is, follow it, seek it out. Find it.
Stop worrying about time passing by and getting down on yourself because you haven’t done anything really remarkable yet.
It’s not too late. It’s never too late. Remember: time is an opinion (illusion), it’s not a fact.
Where you are now is only relevant to you, to your path. Age means nothing.
So don’t seek your potential, don’t get things backward, find your passion or your purpose first.
Because once you find your passion, your potential kicks in and takes over.
Then you will have the joy of spending the rest of your days trying to reach your potential.