If you study the literature and work in the field of personal development (as I do), you gain the awareness that human beings have huge potential. So huge in fact, that they can never see the end of it, however much they learn and grow. Each person’s potential seems to grow as they activate and express more and more of themselves; as if by tapping into the wealth of talents and strengths that are innate in them, the more becomes available. There are no limitations on our potential for success.
I have occasionally described this process as growing layers like an onion, where the growth occurs from the inside, with each new core layer forming, then expanding, as yet another core layer forms at the centre. These layers form and grow as life issues challenges to us, going to school, learning different subjects, becoming specialists in whatever career we decide to pursue. Each external challenge prompts growth. However, we can create self-determined growth by consciously deciding to fulfil more of our potential by taking on a cause or purpose that fulfils us.
Plato wrote: “That which is created must of necessity be created for a cause.” Musicians, singers, actors, take up their vocation with the express purpose of getting better and better – and we who marvel at their performances can often clearly see how they draw on more of their potential to become greater and more accomplished.
Yet I see in all the people I work with, that they each could draw on more of their potential and grow to greater accomplishments if they consciously decided to use whatever opportunities their life given them to realise their own talents and strengths. These opportunities could be in their work, whether a receptionist, a lawyer, an accountant, a business leader, a social worker, nurse or politician. Their decision could be based on seeing their work as a vocation, serving people through their work, or by applying their humanity skills to make people welcome and warmed through their interactions with them.
I believe each person fulfils many purposes in their life here – not just one. So even if your dreams of becoming a great footballer or athlete never came to happen, there is no cause to feel a failure or to fall into mediocrity. The innate talents we are given are so huge that we can be a success in many fields – people today are likely to have many careers and it is wise to see ourselves as people who can forever be growing and developing.
As well as using the external challenges we face as prompters to our growth, we can also take proactive decisions to make our mark in life – to learn to play an instrument, to become financially free, to lead a movement that will make a difference in some people’s lives, to help charities in manifold ways. What often stops this latter way of growth is lack of self-knowledge, fear that we are not capable and that we are not good enough.
Begin by learning more about yourself, growing your self-awareness and consciousness about who you are, what makes you tick and what makes you thrive. What people or environments make you smile when you interact with them? Avoid those that make your frown or make you down-hearted. Know that your self-determination has power to unleash your potential. Decide for you and for your life, not for your work. Be loyal to yourself first, then loyal to those your care for, then loyal to your company. (Never reverse these priorities – in my experience companies are never loyal to people!)
As Colin Turner in his book ‘Born to Succeed’ puts it: “If we go to life’s fountain with a teaspoon instead of a barrel we are not drawing on our reserves of strengths, imagination, vision, insight and creativity together with our special talents, skills and abilities, and Nature will simply take away what we are not using.” You are unique – doctors have determined that you are 1 in 50 billion – no one has your fingerprints, your lip prints, your ear or toe prints. You are a unique individual with the capacity to achieve great things.
So my challenge to you is – What could you do to fulfil your potential by growing yourself, to benefit our world through the expression of your innate talents and strengths. What music is in you to play to beautify our experience of life?
6 December 2016