Patience and Potential
Each of us is born with massive potential. The only thing limiting us are the beliefs we hold about ourselves in our minds, and our willingness to go above and beyond to reach such potential.
As humans, we expect certain results from our lives all the time; we expect things to look and feel a certain way and we often wish to see results immediately.
The reality is, we expect immediate results because we live in a world of instant gratification.
We expect our first week at the gym to melt away years of bad food choices and when it doesn’t, we cancel the membership and ignore that we’ve given up. We want our social media channels to portray a certain lifestyle, garner a certain reaction, and if or when they don’t, we blame the image or it’s lighting, or worse, ourselves.
We then translate those negative results into negative messages, ultimately impacting our self-esteem. The truth behind our results and our potential is often not realized. We most often, however, fail due to a lack of consistency, patience and overall belief in our own potential.
There is seemingly a lack of commitment to our potential infecting our society. People no longer want to invest a ton of time and effort in a business venture, a career, a relationship. Instead we have learned to expect much larger results, while investing much less time and effort. Everyone wants to be at the finish line of the marathon for the photo-op, but most are unwilling to push themselves to new limits, investing the time and effort to plan, train and run.
Potential is a Seed
A seed is a perfect illustration of potential. While we can look at an apple seed and know it can grow into a tree, the only way to actually see that potential realized is to plant that seed, cultivate it, nourish it, and have the patience to watch it grow.
In each of us lies untapped potential, waiting to be properly planted or nourished. We often get frustrated about what is missing from our lives, failing to realize that what we fear is missing, may lie within us, waiting to be explored. Until we plant the seed of an idea, take action on that thought, and leverage our gifts and abilities to nourish it, we will never know our true potential.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” The natural urge to make comparisons is strong. Research has found that 10% of our daily thoughts involve comparison. While natural, comparing ourselves to those who’ve achieved greatness can be both a blessing and a curse.
Simone Biles, the American artistic gymnast and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, has recently risen to worldwide fame, becoming a six-time United States national all-around champion. Not long after winning one of many Gold Medals in 2016, Biles was asked if she’s the next Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, or other famous Olympians. Her response was simple, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.”
Too often, people get caught up in where they think their lives should be at major milestones of life. Although it is healthy to focus on what we believe our lives should look like, we must constantly remain mindful of the direct correlation between our potential and our willingness to reach our goals.
Simone Biles, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Amelia Earhart – none of these legends could have realized their potential without persistence, dedication, determination, patience, trials, action, trust, community, and their own belief in themselves.
The right idea in the wrong environment will never grow.
For a seed to grow to its full potential, it is imperative to cultivate the right environment. If planted in a dark environment, surrounded by negative people who don’t believe anything is possible, who don’t believe in thinking differently, who deprive it of air, sun, and optimism, the seed will never grow to it’s full potential.
There may be nothing wrong with the seed, the idea, or you as a person, but if the seed is planted in the wrong environment, it will never be able to fully flourish.
If, for example, your hypothetical seed is building a successful company culture, the right environment is the difference between fail and flourish.
- It will require the right time – you can’t expect a thriving culture to be formed overnight.
- It will require the right environment – the people you choose to surround yourself with will make or break your efforts.
- It will require commitment in ensuring such seed has everything it needs to grow – the right nutrients, temperature, and season.
- It will require patience, tenacity, long hours and hard work – don’t quit so soon.
- It will require trust – a leap of faith, a belief in potential, and serious patience.
Push forward to be the best version of yourself; commit, trust and persist, and watch the seed you sew flourish.