THE BLOG

The Mystery of Your Potential

03/28/2013 03:21 pm ET | Updated May 28, 2013

How do you know what you are capable of? Don't even argue with me here -- you have no idea. Our own potential is a mystery. It might show signs of itself here and there. But its true abundance can only be revealed in a committed courageous exploration.

If you really want to appreciate an idea of potential, look at children -- their development process is all about uncovering their potential. And there is nothing more moving for their parents than seeing fruits of that -- whether it is a first step, a good grade or a musical performance.

Adults, on the other hand, often either stop thinking about their own potential or narrow it down to one specific area, like career for instance. You have to look for yourself -- is it that you are too tired? Busy? Not excited? Lost hope?

Let's acknowledge this truthfully -- there is something tragic about potential that is not being realized... It is like something taken away from oneself, others and the whole world -- without hope to find out what it could've been.

Again, the easiest way to see that tragedy of the unrealized potential is by looking at children. When I was in Haiti (by the way, make sure you don't miss my Joy of Haiti), we visited an orphanage. There was a room of 30 cribs with little people in them. It was a "better" orphanage (if any derivation of "good" could ever stand next to "orphanage"), the kids were at minimum fed and cleaned. But they spent all day lying in the cribs by themselves. Every moment pushed them one step back in their development. It was a cemetery of potential. Heartbreaking. Tragic.

One could explain this by poverty, the recent earthquake, really nasty circumstances and that children require a loving adult to facilitate their development. But when you look at your own life -- is there really any meaningful excuse for not living fully to your potential?

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