At some point, we may all have come across the idea that every human being has some potential within them. This implies that we are all born with some innate abilities that we can share with the world around us; that in each one of us, there is a capacity to serve the world in one way or another. Some people call this “ability”, others call it “talent”, others identify it as “gifts”, and in this article, it is what is going to be referred to as “potential”. The reason for using this word over the other options is that many people get to the end of their lives without actually using these gifts. This is in alignment with how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word potential i.e

“existing in possibility” , or
“something that can develop or become actual”

This insinuates that there is a danger of not realizing the skills that each one of us is gifted with. And this is not a new concept, as many people have identified it. For example, Les Brown once said:

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

Understanding this, efforts should be made to ensure that one’s potential does not go to waste. But in order to succeed at maximizing one’s potential, knowledge of what that potential is in the first place, is very important. So before looking at how to use one’s abilities, here are some tips on what to do to discover these abilities first.

Find out what you are passionate about

It does not come as a surprise that different people are interested in different things. Music may sound very appealing to one person, but absolutely uninteresting to another. Similarly, art is appreciated at different capacities in different people. This is true for designing, cooking, sports, public speaking, and many other things. All this just goes to show that we are innately drawn towards different things as human beings. And through this, one can conclude that passion is a good indicator of what one’s potential may be.

There are many ways to find out what one’s passions, some of them include:

  • Taking life assessments; these include personality tests, because they assess what one is naturally drawn towards or the fields that one may find enjoyment in.
  • Track what you spend most of your time on. Time is precious, therefore, we tend to spend it doing things that we genuinely enjoy.

It is significant to note, however, that desire does not equal ability. This leads us to the second point.

Find out what you are good at

Similar to desire, ability differs greatly among the general demographic of the world. Some people are just naturally good with numbers, others are really good at spatial reasoning, others excel at verbal fluency, for example, and each one of us has an area in which they find ease in. While some may take days to complete a certain task, others may need a couple of minutes or hours… and the latter may even do it better. If there is such a thing, then that may be your area of expertise.

In order to discover what such areas are for you, here are some tips:

  • Use test scores from classes or courses. There is a good correlation between test scores and ability in a given subject.
  • Ask friends and family on what they think are your strengths. Sometimes, other people can easily pick out our talents more than we can.
  • Look for talents in others; sometimes we easily spot gifts in others that we also have in us.
  • Note what you have been thanked for; this may show what you have been doing great in, such that people feel grateful for.

Find an area where desire and ability meet

Having both the desire to do something and the mark of excelling at it shows what one’s aptitude is. Having either ability or desire is not enough, rather having both is what we all aim for. There’s a quote that goes:

“Potential means nothing if you don’t do anything with it.”

And this is why it is not enough to just find out one’s potential, rather to seek how to make it useful.

The key is to be open to change and to trying new things.

And once you discover what it is that you are meant to be doing, then you can go ahead and do the following things in order to harness your potential:

Focus on your whole life and not just on small aspects of it

Sometimes, we get lost in the details. This is true especially when we try to dig into the smallest of things when focusing on just the now or current events. It is true also when we focus only on a particular aspect of the future e.g. for students, it may be tempting to just focus on GPA instead of whether one is actually learning the class material.

When we look at the bigger picture, it is easier to maximize our potential, because then we know what truly matters and what doesn’t.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

After looking at the bigger picture, it is significant to start planning ahead of time. Decide on how you are going to use your skills to serve the world around you. This includes having clear goals set at different points of your life. It is important to have daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals. Further, one can plan seasonal goals e.g. looking ahead 5 years from where one is at.  

Assess your progress

Planning goals is not enough. These goals need to be tracked and their implementation needs to be assessed along the way. This is going to be very important because tracking one’s progress will enable you to know whether there is any difference being made by the way you are living your life.

Edvora is here to make all these steps possible for you. Our platforms offer features to help you keep track of your goals, which can further help you in self-checking your progress. We also have resources that can help you explore different areas of interests so that you can know what it is that you are good at. On top of that, we work to make sure that you meet with similar minded people through our clubs feature. Building community is a key part in realizing and maximizing your potential, and Edvora is here to help you find this sense of belonging. Write to us at [email protected], to let us know what ways you are using to harness your potential, so that we can work to help you reach your goals.