Potential is easily ignored.
I was recently watching some TikTok fitness videos (which by the way, follow me HERE), and a video struck me. The background has some sort of pre-recorded voice, and in the middle of the video was gold. It said “Are you taking it personally?”.
For such a common phrase, it struck my differently than perhaps it normally would under other circumstances. The idea behind the statement, at leas to me, was simple. You have potential, and you are not hitting it. Why are you not taking that personally?
Potential has a tendency to get lost in the shuffle of an incredibly long life. Potential is all about the “what ifs”, but most of us are just trying to keep our heads above water on the daily. We don’t have time to dream. And if we manage to actually do so, finding time to execute on those dreams…there just are not enough hours in a day.
Someone once told me an excellent analogy which fits nicely here. He said, that when you drive to work, you might notice a certain billboard a few times. But after those few times, you never see that billboard again. It’s still there, but it’s now just part of the fabric of your daily routine. It doesn’t stand out, nor does it demand your attention.
Potential is the billboard of our lives. It’s there, and perhaps has always been there. But, it’s often forget, replaced with the shiny baubles and dramatic cross hairs we find ourselves living in daily.
Potential is often not understood, so it’s ignored.
Falling short of your potential is easily justified when you haven’t spent any time looking for it. It’s easy to let yourself off the hook, when you never really put yourself on it.
Understanding potential and searching for yours then puts you into a precarious situation. Now, that you know you have it, you have to decide what to do with the gap between you and it. When you start to realize what you are capable of, or at least, get a sense of it, you become solely responsible for its fruition. With great power (knowledge) comes great responsibility.
So now what?
Take Your Failures Personally.
1+1 equals 2. It always will.
When I look back at my life, there were many times that I wasn’t achieving anything. I was hoping someone would deliver to me what my potential was offering. I spent almost 20 years of my life waiting for that to happen.
But waiting is not an activity. It is not an action.
Looking back, what should I have been doing to make my life better? To be honest, I am not sure what specific things I could have done. I don’t recall specific job opportunities, connections, relationships, etc. that were presented I missed.
But there is one thing that I DO know I should have been doing that I simply refused.
Where I went wrong.
I should have been taking the distance between my current position at the time, and my sense of potential, personally.
I should have had a chip on my shoulder to excel, because I knew I could.
I should have been thinking bigger than my circumstances, because I knew it was big.
I should have lived beyond the minute I was living in, and thought about who I wanted to be down the road, because I knew it existed.
In other words, I should have been taking it personally how much of a gap there was between myself and my potential self. So much so, to the point that sitting idle was not an option. Letting years of my life slip by would have been impossible. I should have been offended, but I wasn’t.
Looking back now, most of the things I have accomplished in my life, I did so after having enough failures build up that I would get disgusted with myself. Sometimes it took too long to get there, but I got there. It was a lesson I should have learned a lot sooner, but glad to still have learned it when I did.
So my advice: Take it personally when you know you can do better, but don’t. Be offended by inaction. Be disgusted by complacency. And use all of those to push you into betterment and closer to your realized potential.
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape in a quest to better himself and those around him focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.