Do you feel trapped in your life by circumstance? Limited and confined?
You’re not alone, but you have to lurk within you, everything you need to be anything you want. To do that…to get there, all that’s necessary is to tap into the wellspring of potential you didn’t know you had. Before you can do that, however, it’s important to understand what potential actually is. You’ll read a lot of different definitions, but it’s best understood as the synthesis of creativity and industriousness. Having one without the other will only get you so far. You need both if you’re going to reshape the arc of your life. Fortunately, there are a variety of proven ways you can ignite your potential. Here are the biggest and best ones:
1) Minimize – No, this doesn’t mean that you have to sell all your worldly possessions and live in a yurt in the middle of a field, but it does mean that you should take a serious look at your world and your immediate surroundings and clear out as much clutter as you can. Start by tidying up your workspace, but take it as far as you’re comfortable with. When I did this, I wound up embracing the concept of minimalism, by literally packing up everything I owned in boxes, and only unpacking the stuff I needed. After thirty days, anything that was still in the boxes (except for mementos), I sold at a big yard sale. Obviously, you don’t have to take it quite to that extreme, but the more you can de-clutter, the faster you’ll see meaningful progress. Why This Works: This is effective for the simple reason that “stuff”= the potential for distraction, and achieving big goals requires focus.
2) Lists Are Your Friend – A shocking percentage of people don’t actually know what they want out of life. Spend some time thinking about that. Make a list. Sketch out your future in broad terms, and don’t worry about how impossible the goals seem. Pure “Blue-Sky” thinking here. Why This Works: Visualization is an important part of achieving greatness, and making a list…actually writing down your goals, dreams, and desires is an important step in that process. It helps to make your goals real. Tangible. The moment they become tangible, they become achievable.
3) Be Discrete – This doesn’t mean you have to live your life skulking in the shadows, but rather, once you’ve listed your dreams and goals – once you’ve written down your overarching goals, you want to refine your list. Break those goals into granular steps. Your goals are probably pretty big, and if you think too long and too hard about the goals themselves, you might get a bit intimidated. You can avoid that by simply focusing on the individual tasks involved in moving you closer to your goals, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly you make progress! Why This Works: You’ve probably heard the saying “don’t try to eat the elephant in one bite.” There’s a lot of truth to that. Any time you want to tackle a big task, the best place to start is to break it into several smaller, discrete tasks and start knocking them out one by one.
4) Force Yourself To Innovate – While the list-making and accomplishing small goals in steady progression speaks to the industrious side of the equation, it doesn’t do anything to foster creativity. For that, you need to get used to innovate. But how? The simplest way is to test yourself on a regular basis. Every week, for example, give yourself this challenge: “Using only materials you can find within 100 yards of where you are right now, make something that will improve your life or current situation. Why This Works: When you do this, it forces you to look at the world around you through a different set of eyes. It forces you to improvise, and look at everything around you as an opportunity.
5) One Thing At A Time – Everybody thinks they’re great at multitasking, but science has proven that it isn’t true. Actually, only 2% of the population is more productive when they multitask. For the rest of us poor shmucks, we’re better off focusing on one thing at a time, knocking it out, and moving onto the next thing. Why This Works: The science is clear. You’re about 10% less productive if you try to juggle multiple tasks at once, and your productivity continues to suffer and worsen throughout the course of the day. Keep it simple. One thing at a time.
There’s no magic bullet that will automatically pull back the curtain and give you easy access to the wellspring of your potential. It’s a process that takes time and effort, but if you approach it as just another problem to be solved, and use the five strategies outlined above as a cohesive whole, you’ll find yourself accomplishing more than you ever imagined you could.