Imagine holding a stick of dynamite in the palm of your hand. That’s what potential looks like. So much contained energy ready to explode.
When I use that TNT energy, I build the world. I have the fuel I need to sustain me and those around me. The explosion provides the impetus to get me going. And, boy, do I need that energy to overcome inertia, which is a greater danger than exploding dynamite.
In contrast, not using that energy locks me in. I feel angry, cooped up, and, most tellingly, frustrated. Like I’m wasting energy instead of using it as it was intended. I thwart myself in the end. Ultimately, I can’t blame others for not using the stick of dynamite held in my own palm.
From Potential to Actual
Energy moves us from potential to actual. When I live to my potential, I feel deeply satisfied because I’m living my purpose – being who I’m meant to be, doing what I’m meant to do.
We are all called to fulfil our potential. So what stops us from living it?
We rationalize not realizing our potential in many ways. “I’m too busy. I’ll get there when I have more time/money/resources.”
Underlying these justifications lies fear – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being judged.
At the same time, we can recognize the role of choice in how we respond to this fear. I can choose to live to my potential or not. The energy in potential is there for a reason. To help us. That’s why wasting it feels so bad. Deep down, we know we’ve let ourselves down. No one else has done it to us. We have done it to ourselves.
Realizing our potential is a journey. It never ends. The potential to create a beautiful, loving, kind world dwells in each of us. Love sits beneath potential. Love, as the palm of your hand, cradles potential. Find the love within yourself and you will gently progress from potential to real.
One exercise to help find the love within yourself is to look at a photo of yourself as a baby or toddler. See the innocence in that little face. Think of the natural trust you felt in yourself at that time. Keep this photo by your desk so you can look at it when you’re struggling and need reassurance. Look at it when you’re feeling great too as a reminder of how you feel when you connect with the child you see in the photo.
Living our potential is an active state – “living.” It happens in the present. Becoming more present is another way to get ready for self-actualization, as Maslow liked to call it. For ways to get present, try my mini-course or you can do this exercise.