How to max out your potential

As 2019 approached, I wondered what I would write about. One evening, I lay in bed watching YouTube videos like I usually do (terrible sleep hygiene I know). I came across a video by Patrick Bet David and watching him speak about ‘How to really unlock your potential as an entrepreneur’, it hit me, of course, that is what I would write about.

Last year as I committed to writing more consistently — putting out a blog post every week, I wrote around the theme, ‘How to get what you want’. I had been working diligently to accomplish certain things over the previous 2–3 years, course correcting, clarifying my business, learning new skills and positioning myself. There were many things to attain and accomplish. As I discovered concepts, applied them and started to see some success, I figured it was my duty to share what I learnt as I went along. Not everyone likes to read books, or spend hours every day on YouTube or Medium, so if they could encounter some of these ideas in my writing or talking to me, then that was a good thing.

So that is what we explored last year — How to get what you want. From figuring out what you want in the first place, to setting goals, to doing the work, to staying focused, to getting back up after the inevitable setbacks and failures, all the way to recommitting and going even harder, placing an extra layer of accountability and measurement to really push you forward. It has been an incredible journey so far. One that will culminate in a book by the same name.

But it all starts with intention, an idea I explored briefly in my short book — How to live with intention. The way I see it, you begin with living intentionally, consciously, geared towards an overarching purpose. As you walk on that road towards intention, you begin to set goals and targets, things to strive for. These goals implore you to set up systems in your life, to craft micro-habits and create a whole new lifestyle to support them. In this way, over time you get what you want.

But every mountain top only gives you a better view of the next mountain top. Our lives are a series of summits and valleys we travel through till we shuffle off this mortal coil. It is this journey that we undertake over and over again, hopefully getting better at it each time. We write one book, and then get the idea for three more. We craft a business for ourselves at first, now we look to build teams. We touch the lives of 100 people with our content, now we look to touch 10 000. Growth is an important part of life, progression is key. There is a beautiful video by Ray Dalio that illustrates this journey.

Now that we have gained some traction, working, hustling, pushing, and bagging wins under our belt, we recommit ourselves to the journey. Especially at a time like this, the dawn of a new year. With our early successes, we begin to explore and ask ourselves, what we are really capable of. Sure, we have gotten this far, but just how much farther can we take this? That is the question of potential.

I have been obsessed with the concept for many years. If you asked me at any point in the past 14 years what my biggest fear was, it would be ‘not living up to my potential’. See I got it into my head a long time ago, thanks to authors like Myles Munroe, that every human being is born with immerse potential. Tom Bilyeu starts off his Impact Theory shows with the affirmation that he believes that the human potential is essentially limitless. When we are born, we are completely helpless. Unlike other species, we cannot feed ourselves, we don’t walk until many months down the line, we can’t even hold our heads up by ourselves. We are born knowing nothing. We depend on our parents and care givers to do everything for us, helping us survive and eventually teaching us everything we know. But this is what makes us quite special. Humans are born with a tremendous capacity for adaptation and learning. We are quite literally learning machines. Which means that we are born with tremendous potential, to be many things, to be anything, but it is our environments and experiences that shape us and bring out the manifestation of what we can be.

For some of us, those early environments are nurturing, building us to great versions of ourselves. For others, those environments are toxic, uncaring and indifferent. They cause us to grow warped and stunted, armed with less than ideal coping mechanisms and reactions. However, another powerful trait of the human species is the capacity for self-reflection — the ability to think about our thinking and even change it.

See regardless of your past and your environment, you still hold an incredible capacity for change and growth. You can take charge of your life and move forward, if you want to, if you decide to. You can also just throw your hands up and let the nation you were born in determine your fate, or your home situation keep you locked mentally. You can even allow your body to limit you, claiming you are too weak, the wrong gender…whatever your excuse.

You can have excuses, or you can have results, never both at the same time.

Myles Munroe always used to say that the richest places on earth were not banks, or treasure vaults, they were graveyards. There lie the remnants of millions of souls who lived and passed on. But also, there lie the many dreams that died. Books that went unwritten, songs that were never sang, nations that were never transformed, lives that were never touched, charities that didn’t begin, inventions that never saw the light of the day, industries that never changed, so many potentials that were never fulfilled. Will you end up one of them? When you give account of your life at its end, will you be able to boldly say you gave it your all?

Each man/woman and everyone in between must decide this, unconsciously or consciously. It is a new year, what are you capable of? I ask myself the same question, and I am super curious to find out. So, this year, I will be exploring this theme in my content, teasing out the concepts, lessons and ideas that help us discover and reach our potential. It will be real, it will hold no punches, because to reach your potential, you must push yourself, you must do the uncomfortable, you must shine light into the places you have kept hidden, you must hold yourself to a higher standard.

But oh, it is so worth it.

Originally published at otoabasibassey.com on January 3, 2019.

I am an entrepreneur, designer and creative strategist using my skills to help people and businesses live up to their potential.

If there was an overarching theme to what I do, it would be “The art of being + the act of creating + the space in-between“. I am interested in how we live, how we create and how the two interact and inform each other

My obsession with personal development and constant growth sparked in my early teens remains unabated and now I share what I learn as I build a life by design.

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