The pursuit of personal growth, self improvement and motivation doesn't come without its challenges. As we each walk our respective evolutionary paths, sooner or later, we will come across one or more of the pitfalls identified below. As in many things, being forewarned is to be forearmed. An awareness of these pitfalls can help us see them for what they are and to move through them with greater ease.
"Yes, there is a potentiality, but the potentiality has to be trained, disciplined. A seed exists, but it has to come to flower. You can go on carrying your seed; no bee will be coming. Have you ever seen bees coming to the seeds? Don't they know that seeds can become flowers? But they come when they become flowers."
Few things are more compelling than getting to know who we really are and what we are capable of. To uncover and live our potential is challenging, yet like the seed reaching for the sky, it is what we are here to do. As we embark on this beautiful and somewhat hazardous journey, many challenges will come our way.
Some obstacles will be visible to the naked eye - we can see them coming. Other hurdles will come from within - from the invisible world of our thoughts and emotions, our fears and our worries, our hopes and our dreams.
Smothering our potential is one of these internal challenges that we need to keep an eye out for. Not unlike a vulnerable infant, it is natural to want to guard our potential. Yet, there comes a point where guarding can turn into smothering.
We need to be willing to release our potential (our child) into the world when the time comes. The alternative is to watch that potential rot and die - together with the benefit that it could have brought to ourselves and others.
Our potential holds the key to a world of possibilities. It is the seed of the future - it is the design or template upon which our future life is meant to unfold. There is a hidden treasure in that seed and we know it. How wonderful to be in possession of such a thing!
Yet, we need to be careful not to fall in love with the seed. We need to know that its existence, as potential, is meant to be temporary. The seed is designed and destined to change and transform into something entirely different. It is meant to be realized.
For this to happen, the seed must be allowed to leave the comfort and relative safety of the soil it's embedded in. It needs to make the journey from the dark into the light. In the same way our potential resides in the dark, until it is courageously exposed to the light of day. This is where it can become all it was meant to be.
If we fall in love with the seed, getting overly attached to it in its present form, we may never let it grow. For in its growth the seed transforms and is no longer a seed. Just as the seed is 'lost' on the way to becoming a tree, so we may feel our potential is 'lost' on the path to self-realization.
Yet, realization is the aim.
The way of personal growth and self improvement must ultimately be the way of risking potential. We may need to guard our potential at first. We may need to guard the seed from being trampled or from being exposed too soon to the elements. Yet, we can't forget that the destiny of the seed lies in growth and transformation. As it is with the seed, so it is with us.
After all, the benefits aren't in the seed, but in the blossom. Our potential is meant to morph into something that can be enjoyed both by ourselves and others. Realizing our potential for the benefit of others, that's exactly when we get to enjoy the fruits of potential. Allowing our full potential to blossom brings a deep sense of fulfillment, satisfaction and inner-peace as we align with life's natural design.
Risking our potential can often feel, well, risky! There are many potential ghosts or monsters that we will need to face - most of which live nowhere else but within the confines of our own subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is where most of our fears reside.
We may fear failure or success. We may fear rejection or embarrassment. We may fear the disapproval and/or the retraction of support of those we have come to love and respect.
We may or may not be consciously aware of these fears, since the world of the subconscious normally exists below the threshold of conscious awareness. We may not even be aware of the fact that we are holding back, thinking that we are giving life everything we've got. Yet, we are aware of a growing sense of frustration and inadequacy. We feel that things just aren't going our way and that, somehow, we could be doing better.
The way we feel is telling us that something isn't right. Changes are in store.
Withholding potential is a double robbery. We rob others from its benefits and we rob ourselves from the joy of imparting those benefits. What a loss! Potential becomes a source of personal joy only as we share it and feel the impact it is having on others.
Otherwise, potential becomes a burden to bear - until we can bear it no more. As Marcus Aurelius once said, 'we are made for each other.' Our highest potential and talents are meant for others, not for ourselves.
So guard your potential, love it, nurture the seed, and then let it reach for the skies. Make sure your love is strong enough to trust and to let go when the time comes.
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