Think of all the people in the world who settle for less because they don’t believe it’s possible to have a better life. Or all the people who assume they have reached their limit because further growth seems too difficult. Frankly, it’s hard to clearly see our potential, because it’s always ahead of our present consciousness and development. Moving toward our potential requires we believe in something that has not yet manifested and behave in a way that feels unnatural. To clarify, when I speak of potential I am referring to the development of character, emotional health, talents/gifts, and leadership capability. We all have a higher self but it’s not easy to express because it require faith that we can do what is not yet evident from our experience. As well, it’s also much easier to remain stagnant and complaisant than to continue improving ourselves. We are all at different levels of development and awareness, so we must start where we are today and begin to expand our view of who we are and what is possible for the future. We can all make small strides to improve and refine ours skills, character, and life circumstances.
Here are four areas to begin growing your untapped potential.
Transform your character As we go through life we will have many chances to refine our character for the better. Character is made up of the personal values and principles we live by, and includes our sense of integrity and morality by which we make decisions. Character is shaped from moments in life where we are confronted with uncertainty and strife, and have to question who we are and what we stand for. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses of character so continue using your strengths and make some goals to develop your weaknesses. Goals may include developing traits such as generosity, compassion, kindness, honesty, or courage. Become Emotionally Intelligent One of the most important parts of living a successful healthy life is our ability to regulate emotions. This is the skill of emotional intelligence (EI), and unlike general intelligence it can be learned and developed. This is very fortunate because EI has been shown to be responsible for up to 80 percent of success in life. Emotional intelligence is made up of:
- Social awareness
- Relationship management
These four areas provide the foundation for us to navigate life, deal with obstacles effectively, and live with a sense of well-being. Awareness of our personal tendencies and motivations as well as how we influence others, can help us adapt and manage our behavior and responses to get the best results possible. Use your talents and gifts We are all endowed with talents, skills, and natural gifts. Cultivating these capacities can allow us to be the best version of ourselves. You can find your life’s calling by combining your gifts and talents with what you are deeply passionate about. In short, you are here for a reason and have been blessed with certain capabilities. It is up to you to express these and give back to the world through your spiritual gifts. Become a better leader In order to fully express our potential we need to connect with something beyond ourselves. This means learning to connect with and influences others, and contributing something valuable to our community or society at large. Being motivated by a larger purpose comes through an inspiring vision and mission for how we are going to live life, and taking a leadership role allows us to share this with others and motivate them to make an impact.
Why people don’t pursue their potential?
Ignorance is bliss – It is much easier to pretend there is not a better way to live, that we are who we are and there is no point in changing. Living life without any real purpose or ideal is easy. Anyone can sit around, have fun, and goof off all day. Frankly, this might provide contentment in the short-term but eventually if we are receptive to the voice within we will be called to something greater. Unfortunately many people prefer to ignore this voice. Pavlov’s dog and Skinner’s pigeons – Much of our behavior is based on societal conditioning. We are presented with messages from the media that we should focus on superficial values and molded by our family that our lofty goals should be reevaluated for more practical ambitions. Many people have their life charted for them before they have a chance to explore who they are and what they are made for. Start paying attention to the conditioning behind your beliefs and expectations. Awareness is the first key to freedom. Lack of confidence – Right now, at this moment, make it a goal to stop selling yourself short. If there is one thing that holds people back from growing and expanding as a person it’s their own self-imposed limitations and head junk. We assume that our present life conditions are what life is supposed to be and that there is no point in changing. Self-growth takes discipline and commitment and doesn’t happen overnight, but if you want it bad enough you will do what it takes to develop as a person. Fear of being different – It can make people uncomfortable to be around someone who they don’t understand. If you are going to excel and go for your potential, you may be in the minority at times. You will be different, as you might hold yourself to a higher ethical standard and have different values. The people closest to you may not even want to see you change. Nonetheless, be the best person you can be and an example for others.
The reason I wrote this post is because I have learned how difficult the journey to personal freedom and self-acceptance starts to become. I truly believe that I am far from my human potential but am beginning to encounter more internal obstacles as I move forward. It has been 4 years or so since I became serious about personal growth. I’ve done a lot of work on myself and have noticed that I always encounter resistance as I approach a new milestone in my personal development. The idea for this post specifically emerged when I recently hit a wall were I was confronted with deep rooted conditioning. I was dealing with internal conflict and my ego was trying it’s hardest to prevent further growth and change. As I processed through this mental scuffle I realized the importance of self-acceptance and being patient. It takes real discipline and dedication to begin transcending the conditioning and social values we have adopted. All we can do is start from where we are with our consciousness and awareness and try to be better each day. I try to do at least one thing that makes me a better and more well-rounded person each day. If I do something every day I will be 365 times better than I was the year before. This perspective really sums up what it takes to begin working toward our potential. I would encourage you to set your own goals for where you would like to grow and develop as a person, and take one step each day in that direction.