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.