Nothing Worse than Unfulfilled Potential

Are you one of those who feel you could have done better? Do you have the unquenched feeling that you stopped when you shouldn’t have or changed direction at the wrong moment in your life? Are you doing what you always wanted to do? Many are satisfied with their lot, content to commute to work, put in their 8 hour shift, head to Church or the pub at the weekend and do everything all over again. Nothing wrong with that.

Then there are those who are all dressed up and nowhere to go.  Like a river that meanders aimlessly without finding a lake or ocean, they are the contradictory epitome of unfulfilled potential.

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Rather be content and satisfied with your white picket fence, Volvo in the garage and mundane weekends than be all dressed up and nowhere to go. Journals are a good place to go and Andre Gide once wrote in his, “One should only want one thing and want it constantly. Then one is sure of getting it.”

That is the point of departure. What do you want? If all you ever wanted in life was to pursue alternative forms of renewable energy, say a crazy enough idea as generating energy from warm ocean currents then rather go mad pursuing that dream than die thinking what if I had gone for it. The fact that you even considered it shows how intelligent you are to have such a crazy idea. It was plain stupidity for Benjamin Franklin to fly a kite in a thunderstorm or was it? You might be interested to know he was well insulated when he carried out the experiments.

Point number one: make informed decisions. You cannot simply decide you are going for it without knowing what you are getting in to. This is why people have bankers, financial advisors, lawyers, assistants and mentors. Someone always knows something you don’t. There is nothing wrong with pausing long enough to ask and listen to the answer. You don’t have to take the advice given but you will have weighed up the options open to you.

Thereafter you focus on your chosen path. You will have many opportunities to fail and a lot more occasions to be discouraged by people who think “you should know better than to go down that route.” Remember you have the right to fail! You have one life. Live it! A good place to start is to bear in mind what Brain Pickings Weekly quotes Werner Herzog’s thoughts regarding commitment; “the uninvited duty” he wrote, that a sense of purpose plants in the heart, leaving one with “no choice but to push on.”

You will be called stubborn but allies will recognise the determination and help you along. You will be held back but supporters will see your resolve and lend a helping hand or emotional support. You will be denied opportunities but perceptive gate keepers will leave the door slightly ajar to allow you a peek in to what the future holds for you. You will take two steps forward and three steps back but a mentor will raise your spirits over and over again. It is the way it works and it is scary but people who have embraced their purpose do not seem to see the obstacles, do not appear to hear the detractors and certainly do not bow down before defeat.

Read or watch biographies of people that have gone before you. You can spend the time in the clubs carousing, all dressed up and nowhere to go, have a pretty smashing time and wake up with a headache in the morning without any progress to show for it. It is far better to be in the company of boring people who add value to your life (not all the time but most of the time) than to have the greatest time of your life but still be inert.

Human life is about progress. We grow naturally, physically, mentally and spiritually. We must also grow in the direction of the sun with our goals and aspirations. Even if the goal is to live the life of a desperate housewife with a sports car, private school education for the twins, nonstop soaps on television and two wardrobes full of clothes and shoes. You define your success. Just make sure that it’s close to the potential you always knew you had.

No one is too small. Fascinating, isn’t it that a mighty river springs from a little bubble in the ground. It trickles forth and gathers strength until it becomes a mighty river which eventually successfully makes its way to the sea. A river instinctively knows it must find its river mouth even if it has to chisel through rock, force its way through arid valleys and even occasionally disappear.

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You are the river. Don’t die. Live.

Never accept less than your destiny.

By Albert Gumbo

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