I was a steady B student with a penchant for spontaneous make-believe and comedy over assigned reading and homework.
In their eyes, I was a closet kid genius. What gave them hope were my off-the-charts scores on every standardized test they ever gave me. Their message: Imagine what I could accomplish if only I applied myself…
Their advice was always the same. Try harder. Focus. Buckle down. If I want to succeed in the “real world”, I need to get serious. Because life is not all fun and games.
They meant well. It just wasn’t effective. Why? I do not recall anyone actually telling me what my potential exactly was. Just that it meant doing more of the stuff that I didn’t like doing.
I know a lot of people with similar experiences, not just in school but in the “real world.”
It plays out across professions. For example, the entrepreneur who feels she is working 40 hours a day in order to grow her business. Or the good corporate citizen working overtime to keep her projects on track.
Potential isn’t measured on a report card, but an annual review. It is reinforced through advice similar to what is given in school: Apply yourself more, through better habits, time management, discipline.
I am not downplaying the importance of doing good work. Achievement rightly deserves celebration.
But how come no matter how motivated and driven we are, very few of us feel like we are operating at our maximum potential? Is there a point where the bar is raised so high that we know we’ve done enough? Too often it takes a personal crisis for us to find out.
The truth is that no matter how much effort we give, very few of us are living up to our true potential, because we are born with unlimited potential.
We are created by God, the creator of all, out of nothingness. All things are possible in the mind of God, since God is All There Is. He’s birthed trillions of galaxies and stars, and every living creature, past, present and future. Yet perhaps the most magical of all is that even though we are all made in God’s image, everyone is unique. God doesn’t do repeats. Each of us is a living, breathing first-run episode.
God’s unlimited potential for us also means we are not limited by our choice of career, or how much money we earn. Are we living up to our potential higher purpose? To give and to receive love? To laugh and to celebrate? To encourage and to support? To promote peace? To believe?
What I believe God is telling us is that instead of measuring ourselves against society’s arbitrary potential, we do what is best for us as individuals blessed with unique gifts and talents. God has purposefully designed us so we do not take standardized tests, or follow predetermined lesson plans, like in school. Instead, all of our tests are pop quizzes, and the most profound lessons arise in spite of our plans. But no matter what, in God’s classroom, we are all A students.
Do you know your true purpose? Want more out of life? Need help figuring it out? Contact me. I’m here to help.
Photo by Szilvia Nemeth/Flickr.com