Do you focus on the potential or the reality?

I’ve read that the average human being only uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what we could do if we could access even more?   While the potential is enormous, the reality is a bit limited. So true in life as well.  

How many times have you commented on the potential of others?  The potential of a relationship, a job or one of your kids?  My mother used to regularly talk about the potential she saw in my friends.

I once got on a board because I saw enormous potential on what we could do but the organization didn’t want to realize the potential.  I was quickly frustrated. And, I’ve often approached relationships with this notion in mind — seeing what could be – the potential – rather than the reality of what is.  Really bad plan.

The problem with this viewpoint is that “potential” rests with the person who has it – not the person who sees it.  Yes, it’s really nice to see the potential in people but not if they don’t have any interest in that potential.

When we miss the “reality” of a situation it often leads to unrealistic expectations, resentment, and frustration – all of which are based on our desires rather than what actually can be.  Plus, focus on “potential” rather than “reality” often leads us to judgment based on our perception of the potential of the situations.  

This is not to say that people and situations can’t live up to some potential. Or that we shouldn’t look to reach goals or our own potential.  But, that’s our potential.  We should not be in the business of trying to convince someone to live up to our ideals of their potential.  That’s not inspirational or helpful.

So, if you’re in a situation that doesn’t feel just right, where you’re wondering if it will ever be what you want it to be, try this:  

1. Step back and honestly look at your situation from a different perspective.  Be as objective as possible. 

2. Ask yourself what you want (and need) in your relationship or situation. Take some time with this one – it’s critical.

3. Focus on what you like, love and appreciate about this person or the situation.  Look at the needs on both sides.

4. Ask what the job or your partner needs from you.  If you don’t know, ask.  Take the ego out.  The situation may not be the right one and you want to know.

5. What are you willing to do to make a change?  Maybe nothing – that’s an answer.  Maybe something – that’s an answer too.  Have an open discussion with your partner or  yourself. 

6. Can you have what you want/need in this situation?  If not, leave.  You can find it someplace else. If you can, what can you do to get there.  Be honest here about what you can do and what you wish would happen. Follow the “can.”

If we love and live honestly, we really get the most wonderful gifts — happiness and much less frustration!

Have an amazing day!

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