Listen readers. If you’re finally ready to build on your talents and live up to your full potential, all you have to do is learn to apply them . . .
Beginning right here . . .
You can improve your performance, your productivity, and the quality of your entire life.
Do you really think it’s all luck, intelligence or dedication? All of these things do figure in they all make a difference. But we know intelligent, talented, hard working people who do not consider themselves very successful or even happy. And we also know people who are not exceptionally bright but seem very happy and successful.
So there must be something else, some backdoor way into success. Actually, there are several hidden ways in achieving your peak performance living up to your full potential.
Your success at business, friendship, love, sports just about anything you try is largely determined by your own self-image. Your unhappiness is something you choose. So, you’re thinking . . . nobody chooses to be unhappy. Well, maybe not but you have to consciously choose to be happy, self confident, and successful.
Happiness is attainable when we go after it directly. So is self confidence. Both seem to be more “side products” rather than something you can achieve.
So how then, can consciously choosing to be these things be of any value? Well, the secret is to focus on other things.
An exercise to take away . . .
Begin by making a complete assessment and an inventory of yourself. Make a few lists of all the things you can do well. But, be honest with yourself.
When that list is done, make a list of all the things you’d like to do, even if you think you can’t do them well.
Then, make a list of all the things you would like to do, if you could.
Now, list your hobbies.
Let’s reiterate your lists . . .
1) What I do well
2) What would I like to do even if I can’t do them well
3) What would I do if I could
4) What are my hobbies
Now, go back to the list of things you can do well. You are probably being much too hard on yourself. Most of us are. We have this little voice in our heads telling us things like: “You’re so dumb,” or “You can’t learn to do that,” or “You never do anything right,” And guess what?
We actually listen to that devil of a voice . . .
Now’s the time to shut off that voice you can do it and add a few more things to the list of things you can do well. Pretend you are your best friend it’s amazing how much more forgiving and charitable we are with our friends than we are with ourselves.
Now that you are your best friend, you should be able to add a few more items to your “do well” list. But do be honest don’t list things you feel you really can’t do well.
Next, go to your list of things you like to do but you feel you don’t do well. Speaking as your own best friend, do you think there are some things on this list that could be moved to your “do well” list? Probably. If you like to do it, chances are you’d do pretty well at it. Treat your hobby list in the same manner.
Next, go to your list of things you would like to do if you could. Ask yourself, “Why can’t I do this, if I’d like to?” Put your reasons on another list. OK. So you have a lot of lists going what good is that going to do? Well, you have just made an assessment of yourself. If you have been truly honest in making these lists, it may even be a fairly accurate one. Probably it isn’t, but that’s OK.
This assessment isn’t carved in stone. It’s subject to change. But for now we will work with what’s on your lists. At least you have a place to start.
Look over your lists again. You are focusing on all the things you feel you can’t do and the reasons why you can’t do them, right? Well, don’t.
Focus On What You Can Do Focus On Your Potential. Make it a habit to focus on your strengths. Don’t forget to include your undeveloped potential as well. Train yourself to focus on your potential instead of your limitations.
Now that’s not to say that you should ignore your list of reasons for not doing some of the things you would like to do. Not at all!
But what we tend NOT to do is look at them from the viewpoint of your strengths. For instance, you’d like to play basketball but you think you are too short, so you don’t even try.
In this case, you are looking at it from the viewpoint of your limitations. Now, when you look at it from the viewpoint of your strengths, you would say, “Well, I may be pretty short to play, BUT I am fast. I can handle the ball well. I have a lot of stamina. I can’t change being short, but I sure can refuse to let my limitations overcome my strengths.”
You see the difference? Focusing on your limitations lets those limitations make your decisions for you. Focusing on your strengths lets you make the decision.
Go back to our example: when you’ve decided to overcome your height limitations to play basketball something you really want to do you will be more determined to develop your strengths to compensate. You will do well, because you will be doing what you really want to do and you will be determined to develop the full potential of your strengths.
Very few people concentrate on fully developing any of their strengths. That’s where you will have the edge. You know your true disadvantages but your determination and your purpose will inspire you to fully develop the talents and skills you do have.
OK. You probably have no interest in playing basketball. Then go to your assessment of yourself. What do you have a major interest in? What do you have a natural aptitude for? Go for it. Devote yourself to something you really like to do.
Don’t choose something just because you think you could make more money at it than by doing something that you would really rather work at. You won’t work to develop your full potential.
You’ll probably start out with lots of enthusiasm, but it will be short lived. It will be a chore to go to work. You’ll probably find yourself hating to go. It’ll be difficult to work on improving your skills because you don’t like what you are doing. Your success will probably be limited by your growing lack of interest and ultimately . . . you won’t be happy.
So devote yourself to something you really like to do. You’ll enjoy your work, you’ll be enthusiastic, and you’ll probably find yourself working on improving your skills just for the sheer joy of it.
You will be working to reach your full potential. You’ll soon find you are making more money at this truly interesting occupation than you ever dreamed possible. And because you like what you are doing, you’ll be much happier.
When you know you are working to your full potential and you enjoy your work, you’ll begin to feel successful, self confidence and happy.
But, you must be realistic and honest. Don’t B.S. yourself. If you set goals that you can’t possibly reach, you’re simply setting yourself up for failure. The key here is a realistic and honest assessment of your potential.
Although most people will be unnecessarily harsh in their assessments, it is easy to become too hopeful when you start breaking down barriers.
For instance, you’re extremely interested in and fond of music and would love to be a singer. It would be rather ignorant to set up a singing career as your goal if you can’t even sing a note (some talents are inborn).
But, not all is lost. If you have knowledge about the music business and would be happy being involved in some other way, by all means then go for it . . .
Next would be to set a time limit.
When you set a goal, you will most likely set times for achieving certain steps along your way in achieving your final goal.
Even if you don’t set the time frame in stone, you will probably have a pretty good idea of how long you are giving yourself.
Word to the wise . . . Think about it and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve them. Don’t go setting yourself up already by not giving yourself enough time.
And don’t get all goofy if things don’t work out as you planned. Sometimes, finding our place takes both time and error. All of us experience failures.
The key is to view the failures as a learning experience if nothing else, failures teach us what not to do. Remain calm – focused and flexible. Concentrate on your strengths and potential, and the right thing will come along . . . sooner rather than later.
And no quitting at the first sign of boredom. Even if you have truly found your niche, you will not feel enthusiastic 100% of the time.
Oh . . . One more thing NOT to do. Don’t compare your progress with other people. That’s a big no-no. There will always be someone else who looks like they’ve got it made, or looks like they’re getting where you want much faster and easier than you.
Who cares? Maybe they are or maybe it just seems that way. So don’t bother with it. Focus on what you’re doing and work to develop your skills and talents to their full potential.
If you are a competitor . . . compete with yourself.
If you have reached point A today, make point B you’re next step. Improve on yourself and don’t worry about the other guy.
Part 2: Living Up To Your Potential