TED Conversations

Kaleb Roberts

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Have you realized your potential?

How did you do it?
Did you just one day wake up, work hard and suddenly you're at the top? Or are you struggling every day, not realizing it, sitting at a desk, watching these TED video's and praying for a better life.

If I may ask, what are your individual stories behind your passion and potential?
Was it starting a company in you're basement, knowing that you could do something better? Or inside a multi-billion dollar company starting in the mail room, then suddenly working on the thirtieth floor?

People's stories, especially on topics like this, really really interest me. I want to learn from them, so maybe I can realize my potential. Any thoughts?


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  • Jan 11 2013: The best guide I have ever found to fulfilling one's potential is in the book, "The Happiness Hypothesis" by Jonathan Haidt. In it he examines 10 guiding principles from ancient philosophy and religion and compares them with discoveries in psychology and neuroscience. From this he provides a formula for how to get the most out of life. His formula is: Happiness = Basic Set Point (genetic) + Conditions + Voluntary Activities. First you must understand the internal and social forces that push us towards certain goals. Then you must reevaluate those goals in light of research on happiness, satisfaction, health and longevity. Once you have taken those into account you must discover your strengths and pursue them in such a way as to produce episodes of 'flow' where you lose your sense of self as you engage in activities that match your abilities to engaging challenges. Meanwhile, you can improve your productivity and enjoyment by raising your basic happiness level using meditation, cognitive behavioural therapy, or SSRI's if you find that negativity is holding you back. He elaborates the ways to find meaning and purpose in your life. This is a very detailed guide based on scholarly research. Fulfilling your potential must begin by identifying your strengths and setting sound goals. Haidt does a very good job of steering us towards goals that are truly fulfilling, and shows us how to develop the tools that will help us along the way. You will find a lot of emphasis on social relations, reframing negative events, developing your strengths, relishing pleasurable activities, doing what you care about and believe in. Fulfilling your potential is not about beating everybody else in the ego race for medals and awards - it is about creating a life that makes you excited to get out of bed every day, where you feel part of a community, where you are constantly growing, and in which you feel that what you do matters. I am using this guide to help me fulfill my potential

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