What does reaching your potential look like to you?
To one person it could be getting promoted to a particular position within the company they’ve worked at for years. To another, it could have nothing to do with a traditional job path, and instead be about building a life that allows them the freedom and time to do the things they love regularly.
No matter how you currently define your potential, chances are that you often criticize yourself for not closing the gap between present day you and your ‘ideal’ state sooner.
In hopes of breaking that unnecessary self-criticism, I’ve put together a list of seven unusual signs that you’re reaching your true potential, in both video and written form.
See how many of these you currently exemplify, and choose to give yourself some credit for the incredible progress that you are making.
1. You’ve Stopped Giving a S**t About What Others Think
In my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles to someone reaching their potential is being overly preoccupied with what others think of them. Whether your goals are common or farfetched, you need to be able to pursue them in whatever way you deem most effective for you, rather than in a manner that you believe will be most socially acceptable.
I’m not suggesting that we all act recklessly when making decisions, with no consideration for how they could impact others, but rather, that we stop limiting our approach based on what others are going to think of it. The more often you are true to yourself and your needs, the closer you’ll be to attaining whatever your potential entails.
This may sound silly, but you’d be amazed by how many of us (even those well into adulthood) continue to rob ourselves of our beauty rest. I know that the demands of work can make controlling your bedtime difficult, but nothing makes a long work day harder than ignoring your body’s desire for rest — and not taking advantage of the times it works best.
Those on the cusp of reaching their potential will happily either go to bed early or stay up late based on what they know works best for them, without any care for what others might think of their decision.
Helpful Hint: Find it difficult to fall asleep early? Try cutting yourself off from tech like your laptop and phone 1-2 hours before your desired bedtime.
3. You Spend Money on You, Not What Others Expect You To
Let me immediately clarify that I am not suggesting that reaching your potential involves spending selfishly. What I am arguing is that you should choose to allocate your resources in ways that benefit you and your long-term goals, rather than in ways that others may expect.
Just because “most people” your age own a car or go out for dinner several nights per week, doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to as well. If those things are important to you, awesome, but if not, a big sign you’re reaching your potential is your ability to differentiate between what does and doesn’t matter to you and act accordingly.
We’ve all been through our fair share of hardship in life, and while many of us would love to have avoided much of that pain, we also know that we cannot change the past. A key sign you’re reaching your potential is the way you choose to look back upon your life story thus far.
Do you regularly dwell upon your past, basking in the victimhood, pain, or sadness that came along with it? Or do you accept it for what it was, and instead focus on appreciating and applying what you learned about yourself, others, and how to handle particular circumstances from it?
No matter how spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually intelligent you believe yourself to be, we are all wrong from time to time in this life. And, in my opinion, one of the most obvious indications that you’re reaching your potential is your acceptance of that reality.
The more you admit to your shortcomings and are willing to learn from others, rather than wasting your time pointing the blame elsewhere, the more likely you are to expedite your path to success.
6. You Happily Compliment Others
How do you view other people’s accomplishments? Does seeing someone succeed at something that you deem admirable inspire you to pursue your own goals, or does it fill you with jealousy?
Feeling jealous has never done anyone any good, yet we seem to love casually stating it (“I’m so jealous”) as if it does. You genuinely being happy for, rather than jealous of, others people will save you a ton of time and mental energy that you can instead direct toward your own projects.
7. Patience Is Not a Problem
We all know what it feels like to be impatient. And while we might wish that life never required us to be patient, we also know that will never be the case. Pretty well every big accomplishment in life that you deem admirable took time to develop into what it is today.
Another sign you’re reaching your potential is that you not only recognize the necessity of patience, but choose to practice it regularly — even when losing your cool would be more satisfying.