How many of you are doing jobs and practicing professions that you hate, chasing careers solely for the status or the financial rewards they may bring, then to compound the issue, you also (too often) pursue relationships that strain your mental/emotional limits and drain your vitality? So, hour by hour, day by day, and week by week, you ride the roller-coaster, afraid to get off, fearing you might never be able to get on again, so, you endure the mundane and grinding experience of simply existing. Why do you continue to endure the uncertainty of your existence without taking decisive action to change your situation? If you’re feeling drained, debilitated, and depressed, you must change your situation, or it will change You! Isn’t the self-awareness you possess warning you of an insidious and gradual erosion of the energy in your mind, body, and soul? Aren’t you aware that the discomfort you feel can bring on a heart attack, stroke, or brain aneurism, which will decidedly change your life physically and mentally? Yes! The drudge, boredom, and tension associated with being forced to do a job you despise, is so toxic, and soul-sucking it can make your Heart Stop!
Kevin (Mr. Wonderful) O’Leary of Shark Tank fame says it best, “Stop the Madness!” It is absolute insanity to keep doing the same thing(s) repeatedly, while expecting a different result.
The last 30 years has ushered in a growing number of “Purpose” driven preachers and motivational speakers who emphasize finding a purpose for your life; while this makes good sense, and marks a step in the right direction, there is still a missing link.
Purpose by itself is incomplete! It needs to be understood that our three-dimensional reality, and our dual nature thrive on synergism – which means, systems working together in concert, a situation where the whole is greater/stronger than the sum of its parts. In other words, when two or more people or organizations pool their resources, they are able to accomplish much more than they could individually. So yes, the purpose driven life is one part of the equation, the other part is Potential, without Potential, the Purpose stalls because the equation is incomplete. I explain it this way, “Purpose without Potential and Potential without Purpose prevents the dynamic process of personal growth and mental expansion. They are inextricably linked.”
The real challenge for thought leaders is to first understand that linkage themselves, instead of cherry-picking one great human attribute or talent that appeals to their particular focus, or messaging. That is proverbially “putting the cart before the horse,” a position that is obviously asinine, and creates further confusion. Therefore, my proposal is one that is receiving increased attention from the field of neuroscience and performance-based research: we are all wired to be individual and yet interdependent systems, cooperative systems, but the default is chaos, confusion, and incoherence. This is very likely why “our better angels” have devised a system of Mentorship or oversight, which helps us to identify the talents or attributes – we possess – which is what we define as Potential; once Potential is liberated, then we can accurately identify a Purpose.
The lack of Potential development at all levels of society spells a breakdown, and eventual collapse of our societal structures; almost every leader talks about preparing our children to be the leaders of tomorrow yet refuse to relinquish their old, tired leadership. Very few leaders have the desire to mentor and nurture the Potential of the young. If, my past experience as a former clinician has taught me anything it is this – the untapped, unreleased, or suppressed Potential of any being, project, or situation, can spell dire consequences or outcomes for all concerned. Every person, every project and every situation present us with immeasurable potential for growth; that’s how we survive as humans, we depend on the potential growth of our crops, livestock for our food supply, so we nurture them, we invest in their potential to grow. We rely on our potential to earn a living by making investments in our education and training, all our efforts are brimming with potential and possibilities, yet so little time is spent analyzing and determining our individual capacity for Potential. Potential must first be detected, realized, then nurtured and utilized to its fullest extent – it’s limits should be expanded as far as humanly possible.
Here’s an uncomfortable paradox that limits and ultimately damages the detection and realization of that Potential among Blacks everywhere; the gospel is that Blacks are hardwired with a certain potential for particular sporting activities, that our potential largely resides in our brawn and not our brains. I vividly recall being scouted for my potential ball playing abilities, yet nearly not ever for my potential ability to read, write or reason. Schools in the Caribbean and the United States make hefty investments in students who can play ball, sprint, wrestle, or fight; any profitable, and popular sporting activity should suffice the Black student. Do they not have the potential for Math, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering, who knows, or who cares? The process seems simple enough, when potential/talent is detected and realized, support and mentorship is offered, the problem is – Black people rarely attract that investment in attention and mentorship beyond sports.
I am calling on all Black and Brown leaders in our community to accelerate the pace at which we identify the Potential in our family and our communities, so we can unleash them to accomplish their life’s Purpose!
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