Maximizing Your Potential Means Defining It First

(Photo: Ryan Tauss/Unsplash)

(Photo: Ryan Tauss/Unsplash)

This question originally appeared on QuoraHow do I know my potential?

Everyone has unique dreams, goals, and aspirations. Each person also has a diverse range of strengths, weaknesses, and personality characteristics. It’s often difficult for people to know their true potential because they haven’t yet uncovered their purpose. Most people don’t know that perfect mix of what they’re good at and what they love, so their true potential lays dormant, covered in layers of socially acceptable presentations.

We wander through life. While we like the idea of a cheat sheet, the truth is, most people just do their best to adjust to changing conditions. When you’re constantly playing catch up, it’s difficult to maximize your abilities. We each have talents, but in order to water the seeds of our potential, we need to find a way to get ahead.

First, what is potential?

Potential is the capacity to transform into your unique goals and aspirations. It’s aligning your intention with your attention to manifest your dreams in reality. This means engaging in personal work to define your goals and self-reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses. After you have a clear understanding of who you are and where you want to go, you can formulate a plan of action.

Balance is the key to uncovering your potential. Balance involves aligning your mind, body, and spirit into a harmonious relationship with one another. When these three factors are focused on your intentions, you’re able to transcend prior limitations and achieve your dreams. Most people have uneven development— one or more of these components may be functioning at a low level. Because the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, you must address each to make optimal progress.

5 Steps to Create Balance

1. Prioritize your health. Use alcohol and drugs in moderation if at all. You need to be honest with yourself and decrease your use of substances if it impacts your relationships, employment, or general wellbeing.

Regulate your sleep schedule. When you sleep and wake at the same time, your circadian rhythms provide you with more energy throughout the day.

Make sure you use that energy to exercise multiple days per week. Your body was built to move, so counteract your hours of sitting by going to the gym.

Do your best to stay hydrated, most people don’t realize that their dehydration causes fatigue, headaches, and leads to unnecessary eating.

Eat healthy foods. Spend more time on the perimeter of the grocery store than the interior, and try to increase the number of meals you cook yourself rather than eating out at a restaurant.

2. Schedule time to disconnect. In our modern world, it’s increasingly difficult to step away. You have obligations to friends, families, and coworkers to be near your electronic device. While it may be important for communication, it’s not great for our brains.

Staring at your screen keeps you trapped in the mind and disconnected from your body. Scheduling time to turn your devices off can help you engage in the soul-searching you need to discover your passion.

Start by taking small steps to decrease your connection by disabling notifications, moving social media apps to the back of your phone, and refraining from using your device in public. Disconnect from your smartphone and reconnect with your heart.

3. Engage in therapy. It’s imperative that you don’t do all of the work on your own. You may think you’re strong enough to will yourself into balance, but you’re missing the point.

Going to therapy isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. Having someone help you process old wounds and current issues releases stored energy you didn’t know was present. This release of pressure provides you with additional energy to put towards more productive tasks and re-connects your mind to your body.

The mind-body connection is essential to finding balance.

4. Connect to your creativity. Make time for the things you love. If you enjoy writing poems or painting, schedule time to create your art.

When you make time for things you love, you send a thank you card to yourself. You show that your passions and dreams matter, and this translates into other areas of your life. You activate old brain networks that haven’t been used in years, and this leads to greater happiness.

The most important aspect of creativity is self-expression. When you externalize your thoughts and feelings and then share yourself with others, you open your heart to new opportunities.

5. Meditate on a consistent basis. Each time you change your focus from a thought or feeling to your breath, you’re doing a meditation rep. As you learn to flex your meditation muscle, it becomes second nature. You no longer have to try; you simply relax into presence.

As you become more grounded in the present moment, you’ll be more attuned to yourself and your environment.

When you’re secure in your presence, you connect to your inner power and have confidence in your competence. This state-of-being enables you to control your mind and focus on what’s really important.

Balance creates harmony. When your mind, body, and spirit are congruent, you’re grounded in your potential. Many of us walk around without awareness of our imbalance, and then we wonder why we’re feeling empty and dissatisfied. If you want to know your potential, then take the steps necessary to uncover your true gifts. Align your mind, body, and spirit with your intention, focus your attention, and then achieve your potential.

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Matthew Jones is a doctorate student, writer, entrepreneur, and Quora contributor. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.