The Dichotomy of Potential

Posted in Self-Development on March 31st, 2010 by Tim Enochs

Imagine holding an apple seed in the palm of your right hand and a pebble in your left.

Now think about the potential of the apple seed you are holding. It is bountiful! That small seed holds within it the capacity to become a fruit bearing apple tree. This could be a beautiful tree that provides shade and produces delicious apples year after year. You imagine the apples from that tree baked into a hot apple pie with ice cream on top.

Inside every apple this tree produces will be more apple seeds. So, you could potentially be holding an entire apple orchard.…all because of that one little seed.

Its potential is endless.

Now think about that pebble you are holding in your left hand. What is the potential of that one little pebble?

Unlike the apple seed, the pebble only has the potential to be a pebble. It will never grow into a rock. It can never become a boulder, or someday aspire to be a mountain. It is what it is, and it is what it will always be. It is a pebble.

Herein lies the Dichotomy of Potential.

This is a subject I wrote about in my book Every Day is Game Day, and I’d like to share this with you today as I feel it’s an important topic.

With all of the potential packed inside the apple seed, there is an equal amount of opportunity to disappoint. Without proper care, soil, water, and sunshine, the seed would rot away and never become an apple tree. All of that wonderful potential would be fruitless.

The pebble, on the other hand, will never let you down. It is already living up to its full potential. You are always safe from disappointment if you sick with the pebble.

But is that what you really want? I think not. That’s just not the way we are wired.

I believe we were created to thrive on hope, the promise of potential. Without hope, life has no promise. Without promise, hope has no life.

You are more like the apple seed than the pebble. You have potential, even if you do not always aspire to reach it.

When you deny your potential, you are an apple seed pretending to be a pebble.

Which are you today? Do you merely exist, like the pebble? Or do you take action to realize your potential, much as the farmer plants an apple seed and tends to its growth? Are you burying your talent or planting seeds of potential?

Your potential is a gift. To harness and realize it is a choice.

If you want to realize more of your potential, here are a couple of things you can do:

  1. 1) Make a list of 2-3 areas specific to your life and 2-3 areas specific to your career where you know you have the potential to perform better and realize greater results.
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  3. 2) For each of these areas, determine and document the specific actions you need to take to pursue the realization of your potential. Commit to taking each of those actions by a specific date, and ask for accountability.

Your potential belongs to you. What you do with it is determined by you. You can’t grow an orchard overnight, but you also can’t get any results from a seed that is never planted.

Take action today, and the results will follow.

What is your most significant area of unrealized potential? What steps will you take to achieve growth in that area?

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