Growing up I heard this question a lot. Not from my parents, mostly from teachers and coaches. I went to an all-boys high school with about 1,300 guys . . . and our teachers were always talking about potential. At that time in our lives we didn’t know enough about what life was, or what was possible; in fact, we didn’t know much of anything, though we thought we did.
I’ll be 44 in a few weeks, and there is something about the onset of summer and my forthcoming birthday that gets me into a reflective mood about life. Am I living up to my potential? No. I mean, I just know I am not. Every day I fall short of my potential. I see what can be, but fail to grasp it.
The problem with potential is that it is always there and there is always more. Nobody ever reaches their full potential. Nobody ever wakes up and says, “Well, I’ve reached my potential, so I’m gonna take the day off.” People tend to react to the idea of potential in two ways:
- Obsessing over it.
- Not even thinking about it.
Both responses are an overreaction.
From time to time, it is good and healthy for us to think about what we are capable of compared to where we are in various aspects of life. We usually discover that there is a gap and we do have some dormant potential. Let it motivate you.
Pick one area of your life to focus on this summer. There is something about us human beings, we are most fully alive when we are growing, changing, developing, and chasing down our potential.
So, let’s make it a great summer. And if you are looking for some summer reading, I highly recommend Gary Zimak’s book of daily reflections, Stop Worrying and Start Living.
May God bless you and all those you love with the wisdom to approach potential sensibly,