Defining Potential



Reading this article on the BBC News website today really struck a chord. Rumination is something I have always excelled in (shame I couldn’t have excelled in something more useful, like academia for example). Not to the point of falling into a depression, you understand, but often to the point of being paralysed by feelings of disappointment in myself – for not working harder, not being more assertive etc. (trust me, the list goes on and on).

In recent months and years, however, I have begun to develop a coping strategy in response to this. It’s gradually becoming easier to recognise when those familiar feelings of self-doubt are creeping up and to nip them in the bud. Perhaps this is a positive result of the ageing process (there have to be some, right?), whereby we come to know ourselves that little bit better as each year passes, so that over time we realise it’s not worth beating ourselves up for our failures, and is far better to just accept them and move on.

Instead of wallowing when we feel we have failed, we should celebrate when we have succeeded, because only then will we start to positively re-affirm who we are and what we can achieve. It makes me sad to see so many people failing to realise their potential in life – myself included. But what is ‘potential’ really? Maybe part of the problem is our definition of that word, and our perception of how much we are really capable of. If we were kinder to ourselves and other people perhaps it would be easier to put our failures behind us and stride into the future unencumbered?

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