Don’t Fulfil Your Potential

5th August 2016

I’m not against people who tell you to fulfil your potential, I’m just not sure that anyone really knows what that means.

What does that mean?

People say it as though it’s a given that we should all know what that means, and imagine some sort of hypothetical future where we’ve made it because we maxed out our potential meter. We went from Zero to Hero because we could figure out how to do amazing work.

I’m sure there are “10 lifehacks to draw out your potential” and “5 productivity tips that help you unleash your potential.”

But potential is an abstract thing.

How will you know if you have reached your potential or not?

Could you do more to get there?

Or when you relax your mind and stop trying so hard to be productive, will you find the magic answer?

I’m of the opinion that it makes no sense to try and fulfil our potential. Potential comes from taking opportunities, making friends and connecting with people and working hard on something that matters to you and that helps others. People see you when you help other people, especially when you do it for free.

Everyone reading this could easily work twice, three times, even four times harder and achieve more, but still have no idea what potential means for them. There’s no magic formula to it, just some vague feeling that you might react to thinking:

“I wish I could reach my potential.”

Forget the word. Just do what you’re passionate about, and work on it for as long as you still find it interesting. When you get bored doing work that you used to be passionate about, that’s when you discover that you need a new passion. Before long you’ll be a passionate person who has many talents, skills and interests.

Is that fulfilling your potential?

I guess I don’t know. Is it?

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