Every time you learn something new, you learn it because something you did didn’t work.
As young children, the way we learn about the world is through mistakes. But this is also how we are disciplined. Every time we used to make a mistake, it would always be accompanied by a punished. By our parents or by our teachers. Nobody likes punishments so as we grew older our childish curiosity got inhibited and we soon learned that the safest way to never get punished is to never make a mistake. And to never make a mistake means to never take action. Or at least never take new action and just stick within known parameters that have a clear and safe outcome.
This is why a lot of people live a double life. One is the present life they have now, dreading every second of it because they feel like their potential is wasted. The other one is the life they are dreaming of, where they accomplish their goals and achieve their potential.
The beauty of childish curiosity is that we allow ourselves to always be exposed to a part of the world we don’t understand. When we allow ourselves to make mistakes and be exposed to things that we don’t understand we give ourselves the possibility to re-evaluate and continuously build and improve our view of the world. That’s why most happy and successful people always mention self-awareness as a key to fulfillment.
Because it’s more important to notice when you are wrong than always trying to prove that you’re right. People will always try to conserve and protect rather than risk and expand. It’s in our nature, that’s how our species has survived and evolved to sit now on top of the food chain. But for the individual, this mindset can be the biggest drawback because fast progress in civilization has also been made based on the courage and risk of a few individuals who could never fit within the regular norms.
As an adult, they key to finding your purpose and achieving your potential is as difficult to implement as it is simple to mention.
Those who achieve their potential are the ones who take responsibility for themselves. Most of us already have within ourselves the tools and knowledge to start taking action and do something great with our lives, to maximize our contribution in this world. The main factor that most people miss is giving themselves permission to make mistakes. We would rather get lost procrastinating with strategy and contingency plans than taking that first leap into the unknown.
Because if we get outside of our comfort zone and make a few mistakes we feel that the world will be raging down on us and punish us for standing out. Even if that happens, if would’ve been because you were inspired to take a certain action and not because someone else dictated your step. And that in itself should be considered a huge reward. Because you would’ve opened yourself to the unknown. When you take responsibility for your actions and realize that everything you ever wanted is on the other side of that huge fence that you’re too scared to jump, a shift happens. You play to win instead of playing not to lose.
You stop dabbling around and decide to take responsibility. You embrace the consequences that come with that decision.
That’s the key to reaching your potential.