[Opinion] Realizing Your Potential is Not Even Half the Battle

Let’s talk about potential.

The idea that another person can do something that you can’t do, and do it better than you, typically engenders a couple of different responses in people:

The first reaction is one of coveting, not only the talent that the other person has, but also the ability that they have to leverage them. This reaction leads to jealousy, envy, and eventually taking actions that prevent the talented from fully realizing their potential.

The second reaction is one of surprise and joy, not only at realizing the talent that the other person has, but also engaging actively in helping that person find opportunities to connect with others who can help them fully realize their potential. These are actions that are designed to delight the person with potential and are done somewhat selfishly by the other party.

Then, there is a third response which doesn’t get a whole lot of attention, but that rears its head far more often than we might think: This is the reaction of the person with the potential.

This person may not see the potential in themselves.

They may not care about pursuing that potential in the way that another party would like (we see this with parents and children sometimes).

The person may have other things going on in their lives (i.e. they may not have an “empty lot” on which to build their potential).

Or, they may simply be someone who enjoys the stimulus that comes from being recognized as having potential, without having to actually take any action to grow that potential in the long-term.

Every person views potential in different ways, and through different frames and lenses, based on stories they tell themselves (and stories that they repeat over and over again from childhood), but the truth is, potential—which is a combination of innate talents, learned skills, and the accumulation of the impact of life choices—is still a personal thing for each individual.

And even as the Internet—and before the Internet, the computer—has disrupted all of the old, “tried and true” Industrial Revolution ways of realizing potential and turning that potential into viable products and services for other people, people have stayed the same in how they react and respond to the potential in themselves, and others.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *