Updated: Apr 5
The word 'Potential' refers to the ability of an individual to perform to his or her maximum level. It refers to the maximum ability of a person to bring out the best results. When we talk about the inner meaning of the term potential, we refer to personal success or the ability to achieve the best in given circumstances. In terms of physical potential, every individual’s potential energy may differ due to various factors. For example, a baby’s potential would be much less when compared to an adult’s. For a person to succeed in life, it is of utmost importance for them to understand or realize their potential.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid that shows how to reach one’s true potential. It identifies needs in the form of levels one needs to achieve to have the mental and emotional capacity to reach a higher set of needs. Having ensured our basic needs such as food, housing, and safety are covered, we tend to ensure we are loved and safe, as interpersonal relationships are important to us humans. After this, we seek fulfilling work. Once we have the time and resources, as well as the social approval, for this work, we reach our true potential. Thus, we need to work with a professional to identify what stage we are at and what’s stopping us from progressing to the highest stage of self-actualization.
Realizing our true potential is a journey. It requires effort, dedication, perseverance, and self-reflection. It's a process that involves identifying our goals and values, developing new skills, taking calculated risks, seeking feedback, and being open to learning. Here is a more in-depth look at how a person can embark on this journey:
Identify Your Goals And Values
To realize our true potential, it's important to have a clear sense of our goals and our values. This can help us make decisions that are aligned with our ethics and needs, and give us the motivation to pursue these goals. According to research, people find their lives more meaningful and have a deeper sense of well-being when they live their life in line with what is important to them. This also helps us stay authentic to our real selves, reducing cognitive dissonance in our lives.
The ability to recognise and understand our own emotions, thoughts, and behaviours is an important component of personal growth and development. It can help us understand our strengths and weaknesses and how we respond to others. By becoming more aware of our problematic habits and our virtues we can hone the latter while working on the previous one in a professional therapeutic setting.
Practise Time Management And Discipline
With several distractions getting in our way daily, it is easy to get off track and not reach our goal. Staying focused is key to reaching our true potential. It also requires us to plan our days in alignment with what is important to us. Maintaining a daily schedule and a to-do list are some ways in which a person can stay focused on completing their tasks.
Develop New Skills
Continuous learning is an important part of reaching our true potential as building new skills helps us move out of our comfort zone and gives us varied professional and personal experiences. It allows us to generate a sense of safety within ourselves that we will survive come what may and this realisation makes us stronger in the long run and more open to taking well-thought-out risks.
Seek Feedback And Be Open To Learning
Whether it be in therapy or from colleagues at work, listening is an important skill for those of us who are looking to reach our true potential and self-actualize. Feedback can help us improve our work and ourselves and is thus extremely important.
Accept That You Could Fail
It is important to understand that the concept of overnight success is not real. Failure is a part of reaching our true potential and is necessary to succeed in life. Although failures can be heartbreaking and embarrassing, a person should take the time to go through these feelings and process such emotions. Failure is not the reflection of a person and thus, should not be taken personally. Instead, it could be the motivating factor to push an individual further in his/ her journey.
Being patient and kind to yourself
It takes time for an individual to achieve one's true potential. Sometimes a person may find themselves running out of patience or getting frustrated when the path to reaching their highest potential seems rocky. However, it is important that they shows self-compassion and honour the efforts they put in each day to reach their goal. Acknowledging an individual’s strengths, skills and weaknesses help a person realise the areas in which they needs to grow.