Not realizing your true potential is probably one of the bigger regrets as people get older; realizing that you could’ve been more is one of the biggest emotional upheavals you can experience in your life. That is why it is quintessential that you do not let opportunities fly away; for those fortunate enough to live in a society where there is free will to do and be pretty much anything you want, you must capitalize the opportunity to self-actualize, to be the best you can be. To be the test you, here are things you can do to realize and reach your potential.
1) Find out what you really want to do in life
I think all of us, either implicitly or explicitly, want our lives to stand for something—to mean something. We want to be apart of something bigger than ourselves—we want our lives to have meaning.
One way to bring meaning to your life is to find out what you really want to do with it. Find out what your passion is, and find a way to turn that passion into a big part of your life. Your passion doesn’t have to earn you money, but it should become an integral part of your life.
In order to find out what you really want to do in life, you have to be brutally honest with yourself, as well as a lot of introspection.
2) Learn to say “NO”
The ability to say “no” is extremely underrated in today’s society. We live in a society of constant communication and constant action, where we fear that saying “no” means missing out. But by saying “yes” to everything, we are spreading ourselves thin, and leaving little time to focus on what is important.
Every time you say “yes” to something not integral to your goals, you are saying “no” to something that is integral to your goals. Time is the most scarce resource we have, use it wisely and say “no” to things that are not important and are not instrumental in reaching your true potential.
3) Know that success is a process, not an event
MJ Demarco’s Millionaire Fastlane poignantly elucidated on the popular perception of success being an event, and not a process. People seem to glorify success, wishing to be a millionaire or a world-class athlete. But many people miss out on all that went into getting to that point. People don’t just all of a sudden become successful. Success comes from years and years of sacrifice and work; sacrifice that most are not willing to make and work that most are not willing to put in. All people see is the glory of success, but they don’t see the blood and sweat from endless hours of effort in getting there. Remembering that success is a process and not an event is important during the darker days when negative self-talk gets to you.
4) Harness the power of routine and frequency
In the same vein as the previous point, prolific English novelist Anthony Trollope once said “[a] small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of spasmodic Hercules.” In order to reach your potential, you have to be willing to put in work day in and day out to achieve your goals. Doing something everyday is more productive and conducive to obtaining your goals than sporadic periods of work. Even if you only able to get 15 minutes of work done in a day, still use it to work towards your goals. This frequency will build a routine and as such will be easier to start your work each day, especially since you have the project fresh on your mind.
5) Analyze your strengths, talents, and weaknesses
In order to achieve the best version of you, you have to know yourself, very well. Know where your weaknesses lie. But more importantly, know where your strengths and talents lie. From thereon, use your strengths and talents to focus it towards a goal or desire that aligns with your strengths and talents.
6) Always seek to improve yourself
Never stay stagnant, always find a way to improve yourself. Be better than you were yesterday. This is not the same as saying that you should not be proud of who you are; it’s saying that you should always be on the lookout for areas where you can improve on. To think that you have nothing to improve on is somewhat narcissistic.
7) Do not put off anything
Time is forever fleeting. You will never get that time back that you wasted. You may want to procrastinate here and there, but pretty soon, those tasks start adding up and will never get done. In my early 20s, I wasted plenty of days not working on my sites, and instead used those days to watch tv or do other nonproductive things. I would give (almost) anything to have that time back—and I would certainly be a lot further along in my business endeavors than I am now. But late is better than never. The best time to start something was yesterday, but the next best time is now.