Infinite Possibility, Unlimited Potential

It might not always seem like it, but we live in a world of infinite possibility. We have unlimited potential. This is not true for just some of us; it’s true for all of us. The trick is learning how to access your possibilities and actualize your potential.

When I was a child I used to ask my mother, “Mom, what should I do when I grow up?” She always gave the same answer. “What I think you should do isn’t as important as finding what’s right for you.” “But how will I know?” I asked. Her answer was always the same. “Choose something you’re good at, something you love, and something you can commit to. Then think about how you can use your gifts and talents to help others.  What really matters is that you give of yourself from your heart.”

I was reminded of this conversation with my mother in a workshop I attended last month led by the founder of Anusara Yoga, John Friend. He taught us asana, and offered insight into what it means to actualize your potential through the contemplation of your own innate goodness, and the cultivation of your own unique talents and abilities.  The measure of a good yoga practice he said, is not just what you do on the mat, but also the insight you gain into yourself, and what you do with that knowledge off the mat to make the world a better place.  It got me to thinking about my mother’s wisdom.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT, AND WHAT HELPS OTHERS

When you make doing what you love, and what you’re good at your focus, you have a greater chance of getting better at it, eventually gaining mastery of it, and of being truly successful. When you make doing something that helps other people your focus it will give you a reason to get up in the morning and motivate you to keep going even when things are tough. The key to unleashing your unlimited potential in a world of infinite possibility starts by taking the time and finding the courage to discover and focus on what really matters to you – not your parents, your friends, your spouse, your children, or neighbors, but what really matters to you.

Your ultimate goal in life is to become your best self, not so you can be the best in the world, but so you can be the best for the world. This requires taking some time to reflect on who you are. It requires facing the self you are afraid you might be if you’re not living up to everyone else’s expectations. It requires finding out who you really are in all of your radiant uniqueness. Your authentic self is synonymous with your best self. You and your unique gifts are irreplaceable. In the words of Tantric scholar Douglas Brooks’ beloved  teacher Appa, “You are the point the universe is trying to make.”

The planet needs a diversity of talents and abilities if we are to succeed as individuals, families, communities, and nations. The world needs you to be who you are and to express your unique gifts and talents. If your ultimate goal is to be your best self, your immediate goal is to get on the path that will lead you there. If you want to be the best for the world, you have to align with the best in you.

WHAT DO YOU REALLY LOVE?
Many of us have spent so much time living up to others’ expectations of us that we’ve lost sight of what we really love. Let your passion lead you. When you have a desire that you can’t get out of your mind and your heart, that’s the one. Without passion for doing something, you’ll never be successful, because you won’t be able to sustain the energy necessary to continue on when faced with the inevitable challenges that will come your way.

In order to know what’s best in you, you have to follow your heart’s deepest desires. You have to overcome internal and external barriers to become successful doing what you love. Some people hold themselves back because they’re afraid they won’t be able to make money doing what they love. If you can cultivate self-respect and inner security, and develop a commitment to your own talents, you can earn as much money as you need or want. True success requires going beyond the goal of making money to the goal of creating purpose and meaning in your life in all that you do. It takes everything you have to give: all your talent, energy, focus, commitment, and all your love, but the rewards are worth it and come immediately the minute you consciously choose on behalf of what’s most important to you. You actually become what you love.

WHAT ARE YOU’RE GOOD AT?
What you dislike most is probably not what you are best suited for. It is a waste of time trying to get better at something that doesn’t suit you. Why not use your energy getting better at something you enjoy…something you’re already good at? We tend to do our best at what we do the best.  People who fulfill their potential and function most effectively know their limits; then they integrate these limits into the way they function best. In other words, learn to leverage your faults to your advantage. Oprah said she didn’t become truly successful until she started to be herself. Russell Simmons wrote a book about it called “Do You.” The most successful people in the world, are the ones who know their strengths and their limitations. They focus on and build on their strengths instead of trying to improve on their limitations.

ARE YOU SERVING OTHER PEOPLE?
This is a question you should ask yourself before you start your day. Then ask it again periodically throughout the day. Service to others is not a burden to undertake. It is an obligation to choose, and therein lies our freedom. Service to others is a high calling. It is by doing what you love and what you are good at that you serve the greater good. It is by being the best for the world that you serve others. When you forget about what people will think of you and instead concern yourself with how you can be most helpful to them, you are engaged in selfless service to others. We serve others best when we commit to looking for and focusing on our innate inner goodness and then using that goodness to be the best for the world.

Thanks Mom!

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8 responses to “Infinite Possibility, Unlimited Potential

  1. Amen!

  2. For me, discovering and practicing what I love, what I am good at, and what helps others is the highest form of serving GOD.

  3. Jason Parker Johnson

    What if you love several things and are good at several things and you think that by pursuing one thing it will be to the exclusion of other paths that may be well suited for you?

    • This is an excellent question and not an easy one to answer. But I will give you may take on this. In addition to knowing what you’re good at and what you love, you have to accept what you see your life is meant to be whether or not that purpose fits into your conscious sense of what’s right for you. Let me explain. Earlier in my career I had a very successful career as an on air media psychologist. This lasted for about 10 years. I was good at it, I loved it, and it helped other people. But I was a psychologist first, not a TV personality, which is where the TV career was taking me. Even though it felt like a loss because I had to sacrifice unfulfilled potential, when it came to the inevitable fork in the road where I had to choose taking my TV career to the next level or taking my psychology practice to the next level, I chose psychology . How did I know? I realized through some deep soul searching that as much as I loved TV and radio, I wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to give my all to television and radio. This has not been true of my chosen profession. So in order to fulfill our potential we have to make choices. We have to sacrifice unfulfilled potential. We have to choose what we are willing to commit to and give a lifetime of effort to. Hope this is helpful. Thanks for such a thought provoking question.

  4. Tom Johnson MD, MBA

    Thank you for your insight. Your written words enhance clarity and stimulate positive affirmation. It is obvious to me that you have chosen to do something that you are good at as well as something you love.

    Your talents and abilities continue to help people everywhere. As always I appreciate you!

    Tom

  5. Dear Dr. Gail Parker

    You have documented a road map to a self-driven purposeful life with all the bells and whistles that come along with it. You really came hard on this one! From my perspective, you have eloquently summarized in several paragraphs what others have attempted to do in several hundreds pages via a self-help book. At this point, you seem to have left readers or at least me with a lot of gold digging to accomplish! Lol! or Soul digging! Wait! Better yet! Maybe neither of those things for me, maybe it is exposure time for me since I have connected with what I love and am good at!

    I do have a question though. When I am in love and/or love what I do I tend to focus on my feelings, nurturing the relationship, and all the sensations that come along with it. I am caught up if you know what I mean. It is very blissful state of mind for me. My question is how do I know that what I love and what I am good at is helping others? Is it that I am so caught up in doing what I love that I am in a happy mind frame and don’t have time to cause anybody havoc and that’s being helpful? How might an artist know that sharing gifts, talents, and passion helpful to other? Say a photographer or fine arts painter, how would they know?

    p.s. I so appreciate your mothers wisdom and am thankful that you shared☺

    • It is by setting an intention to be helpful to others that we become helpful to others. Even if we only help one person we have been helpful to others. It is not quantity that matters as much as quality that counts. When we align our attitude with our intention to help, our actions reflect the intention. Thank you for sharing.

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