ne of the most quoted people on the subjects of potential and purpose is the late Dr. Myles Munroe. In fact, one of his most famous quotes has been repeated over and over and over each day around the globe. That quote has everything to do with potential. It has everything to do with what I want to discuss today. This is what he said:
“The wealthiest place in the world is not the gold mines of South America or the oil fields of Iraq or Iran. They are not the diamond mines of South Africa or the banks of the world. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. There lie buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, bestselling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential”
—Dr. Myles Munroe
Could it be that we are candidates to this unfortunate yet true statement by Dr. Munroe? Could it be that we are on the way to our graves with all the potential locked up within us? There are very many people in history that did great things and died “empty” as Dr. Munroe used to implore. We can talk of William Wallace, the 12 Apostles that were martyred for their faith and so on. Perhaps the greatest analogy of someone who used all his potential is Jesus Christ. It is recorded in history that he was crucified, hanging on the cross for three full hours. Chances are that metaphorically, he shed all his blood while hanging on the cross. Today, there is no doubt that Jesus Christ is the most successful person who ever lived. Why? He used up all his potential. Take that to the bank.
Well, maybe you and I have not been sent to deliver the whole wide world like Jesus. But sure enough, you and I are sent to deliver someone. The question therefore is: how deep are we living our lives at the moment? How urgent are we with our potential? Remember, potential does have an expiration date. It’s unfortunate but true. I came across this quote as I was reading Tim Ferris’ book, Tribe of Mentors:
“The disease of our times is that we live on the surface…”
Think about that for a minute. What is it that measures how deep we are with the lives that we have been given? I have a few suggestions that indicate that we are living on the surface and by extension, we are literally killing our potential or dulling it to death.
Cough! Cough! I might need hours to explain this point but I will just use a few lines. There is nothing wrong with jobs. What is wrong with us is our mentality about jobs. We (for the most part) think that jobs are the silver bullet. We think that the only thing that can cause us to advance in life is a job. That is why nearly all of us after school (and whoever told us that we can only earn after school is the biggest liar this world ever saw), look for a job. Any job. Any title. In the process we do absolutely nothing about our potential. All we do is polish our CVs(and boy you should see the CVs that HR departments receive, you will be frustrated), sit back and wait to be called. In the meantime, we are not thinking of any other thing other than a job. Why is that? A job promises a certain amount of income each month. So there is certainty in there. Why don’t we exploit our potential though? Simple. That path is not straight forward and does not have cheap guarantees. It promises uncertainty, hard work and the life of the unknown. God wanted it that way. Why? It makes us grow and come to our full stature.
There is lack of intentionality all around us. Intentional living is one of the rarest things you ever saw. At the end of the week or the day, people take no stock of what they have accomplished, what they have missed and what they could do better. As a result, we just end up zombie walking through life towards the graveyard. When all is said and done looking back at our lives, there is nothing to show of our potential being exploited. In the end, we just “made it in life”. Here is what Marianne Williamson says about “making it” in life:
“How could everybody think that this stupid game of “making it in the world”— which I was actually embarrassed I didn’t know how to play— could be all there is to our being here?”
—Williamson, Marianne. A Return to Love
Dr. Myles Munroe teaches us to answer these five questions:
Frankly, if you do not have an answer to all of these five questions, you are killing your potential hands down. The most interesting thing is that you might not find an answer to these questions at school. You might even have a PHD in whatever course you take, but not have an answer to these questions. In my estimation, the best Education is that which has the answers to these questions as a foundation. It is the real deal. Again, Marianne Williamson tells us further:
“Childishness is when we’re so preoccupied with things that ultimately don’t matter, that we lose our essential connection with things that do”.
—Williamson, Marianne. A Return to Love
I can tell you that what is essential in life is doing what matters. Doing what matters has to do with doing what we were originally intended for. To be able to do that, we have to exploit our innate potential. Living a life without purpose is the most direct way of killing your potential. We shall pick this up in the next post.