O ccasionally, I take a sadistic look at life. What I have accomplished, what I am doing, what I think I have achieved. I ask myself one question: So what? Is that all there is to life? I tend to look at life at times with the lens that one King Solomon used when he proclaimed, “Everything is meaningless!”
So what if I have amassed all there is to life and failed to fulfill my potential? Is that even possible? Is it possible that one can do so much, acquire so much and still never live to fulfill their potential? Well to answer those questions, one has to have a mindset that life, an individual’s life at that, matters to a specific cause.
That cause is what that individual was empowered for, given the specific capacities, gifts, talents, disposition and passion to accomplish. They are all locked in potential. That is why on a daily basis, your potential will speak to you in different ways as I have already highlighted in the previous articles.
You and I will know when we are not living up to the expectations of our lives. When we live not exercising our potential, there is a hint in our spirit that something is off. Here are some specific ways that you will know you are not fulfilling your potential.
“Someone should do something about this!” Have you ever caught yourself saying that with so much passion? Have you ever been angry at how things are going and yet nothing is being changed? Is that all you do and leave the matter to rest?
Start by asking yourself why is it that it is you who is passionate about that thing that you want “someone” to do something about. How come, probably, that it is only you who sees things that way? Isn’t it interesting that other people around you either do not feel as passionate about that thing as compared to you?
Another question to ponder is this: Who is this someone that you want to change things? Who is it that you thin is responsible for that change? Even if you are not directly responsible for change, just saying that “someone needs to do something” is not good enough.
Part of potential exploitation is excavation of and following up with your passion. Where there is passion, there is a voice of potential speaking. When you listen to that voice and do what has to be done, one way or another, you will be tapping into your potential.
At times, you might find that you are it. There is nobody to do something other than you. You have the passion to do it and you have recognized what has to be changed. Every time you do something to change things from the original state to a new state, your potential will have bee utilized.
At times, you do not have the capacity to do what needs to be done. But that still does not excuse you from the responsibility. Every time you recognize that a change needs to be effected, all the time you have to find an avenue through which you can participate.
It could be through advocacy, lobbying, masterminding, networking, fundraising, community mobilization or whatever means. When you do, your potential is being excavated.
Teddy Roosevelt said,
“Far much better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to take rank in those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the great twilight that neither knows victory nor defeat”
“The great twilight that neither knows victory nor defeat” is the apt description. There is no potential excavation in that twilight. However, notice that in potential excavation there are two possibilities. There is the possibility for victory, and there is also the possibility for defeat.
This is why I love potential. It is not in winning alone that potential is excavated, but the fact that you are in the game, whether you win or lose, your potential is being activated. This cannot be said of the casual observer who is afraid to take a risk of sorts.
To dare mighty things is to dig deep into your potential. I was watching Kungfu Panda and the master said something profound to the Dragon Warrior:
“If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now”
That is what daring does to potential. If you looked at your life the past month or even the past year and you do not see anywhere you dared to do something outside of the norm, chances are that your potential still lies dormant, unexcavated.
However, if you look back and see failure out of your dare, it is a clear indication that one way or another, you were exploiting your potential.