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?

  • Dec 30 2012: I joined just because I wanted to reply to this. I have learned that trying to realise your potential is probably a false aspiration. I believe we are all capable of many things and are often...very often frustrated because we are thwarted in our personal desires. I believe I still have personal potential that i will fulfill but life keeps calling me to other things. They are my responsibilities because I love the people I spend time with, It might not be the best use of my time or energy but I won't do otherwise. Having said this I have managed to have a lot of fun. I have lifelong friendships and a healthy happy environment. I have had a fulfilling career despite wanting to do something else and I am very glad I have lived my life this way. Things go wrong, things go right. Things always change, nothing good lasts forever neither does anything bad. The very focussed will think I have been a straw blowing in the wind. So be it.
    • Dec 31 2012: I think this is a very healthy view to be honest. Full potential is not just about a career, full potential is about how you live your life, relationships and the people you touch and touch you along the way.
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      Jan 9 2013: Dear gwer, I am so glad that you joined TED, your view is extremely refreshing :-)
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    Dec 22 2012: One can never "realize" the full potential because as a person grows so does their potential.

    I build resilience into my life meaning I keep learning so I can respond to opportunity and by being prepared I can bounce back from any adversity. Financial resilience is at the core of realizing ones potential. Once we develop a residual income that frees us from a "job" we can devote our time and resources to accomplishing what is important to us.

    When we reach our goal, we set a new one. When we move each day a bit closer to our goal, we are living our life to its full potential.

    In Hawaii, we call it living pono. It is living a life in balance with all things, in harmony with our environment and with those around us. Creating strong, trusting relationships is vital in our lives. Without them, we cannot live our life to its full potential. Working alone, we are limited. Working together, we can create miracles.
  • Dec 27 2012: The day I realized my potential was the day my son was born. From a broken home , a runaway discarded child of parents who both had new and improved version of the American dream that of which I didn't belong I was constantly looking for a love strong enough to make feel as if I was worthy of being loved. That came in an amazing package of a 7lb 12oz ball of love that was all my own! My son didn't grow up with a father but with a mother who was more then both. No one could possibly be loved more then him, no one! Some years ago when I fought colon cancer my son at the age of 16 stayed by my bed while I suffered through chemo sickness and wouldn't let me wallow in my sickness he made me bed dance with wii! He also carried up and down the steps so I didn't feel like the walls were closing in on me. When people found out I was sick their first thought wasn't oh poor me it was what would my son do without me. We have always been that close. I beat cancer in no small way because of my son, the same way I beat the helplessness of my childhood with totally pure love. My son is on his way to becoming a surgeon and seeing the amazing gentleman he has turned into I know I reached my potential. I was put on this earth to be his mother and every other accomplishment I've made in my life dims in comparison with the pride I feel knowing he has never known one single second of feeling unwanted or unloved! And that from a runaway-thrown away child who my parents didn't deserve!
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      Dec 27 2012: Mrs Goncalves,

      That is absolutely amazing! Congratulations isn't near enough. I've honestly never looked at a single mum in this light, it's entirely different. I really hope that sometime in the future (The near future I hope) when I have kids, I hope and pray that I will always be able to look at them the way you look at your son. Thank you, your point of view is a breath of fresh air.
      • Dec 28 2012: I think it's wonderful how many folks seem to learn to see themselves more fully after having children.
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          Dec 29 2012: Hi Max,
          I think/feel children teach us a LOT about curiosity, trust, honesty, compassion, respect and unconditional love....they demonstrate all the "potential" we have as thinking, feeling, growing human beings.

          Then we are told to "grow up", and sometimes we lose sight of our potential.
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      Jan 9 2013: Marlene - I send you and your son love:-) your story is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in all my life !
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    Dec 25 2012: The term "realized youtr potential" bother me on a personal and professional level. That is like the Army's "be all you can be" Shoot the target 10 out of ten times and your set for life. Did someone write on your birth certificate .... s/he will be a accountant at the age of 32 .... nothing to follow.

    Who has the right to decide your potential ... when a boss says you are not living up to your potential ... what does that mean. His intention is most likely to kick start you into greater efforts but to you he has said "I ain't happy" with you.

    Do your best everyday .. stay out of the office politics ... do not fool around at the office .... after that it is up to fate.

    I did a job for a young colonel in the military ... he made general ... he called on me often for other jobs ... I rode his stars to a successful career by doing the jobs he gave me the best I could. Sometimes you just get lucky.

    That brings me to the conclusion: You can influence the outcomes in your life. Prepare for your challenges through education .... do your homework ... apply yourself ... be honest and sincere in your dealings with others.

    If you accept that you have no more potential then others will also believe that too. Hang in there.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Dec 25 2012: Thanks for serving your nation. I aqree we can never realize our own potential. The folks at our funeral can make an effort to do that. Be well , and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
  • Dec 24 2012: We have so much potential as people that even the most accomplished people are only using a fraction of what we are capable doing in this life. We run out of life way before we run out of potential.
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      Dec 24 2012: Potential:
      "existing in possibility; capable of development into actuality..."

      So, I agree with you Dan...we probably run out of life way before we run out of potential. To me, it feels like potential is unlimited....unending....in fact, with that in mind....maybe we still have potential even after this human life adventure!
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    Dec 22 2012: Wouldn't a "yes" answer be tantamount to saying, "That's it. I can do no more."?
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      Dec 25 2012: I was more hoping that a yes would be an equivalent to "I can do more in this single direction what's next?" Although you are correct, my question doesn't reflect that.
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        Dec 26 2012: Thanks for a provocative question Mr. Roberts. In your reply here did you mean to say, "I can do NO more in this single direction what's next?" I can only speak for myself. I understood your question to be asking if I have done EVERYTHING I am capable of doing in this life, i.e. "realized my potential". If you did not intend the question to include such a wide scope my answer would be different depending on your revised wording. Thank you!
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          Dec 26 2012: I'm glad you find it provocative, it's nice to know people find my questions intriguing. Again, you are correct, for some reason that I fail to remember, I did not place the "No" in my revised question. So now you have me very curious as to what your answer will be.
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        Dec 26 2012: I guess my answer is not appreciably different. If the focus is on a specified area or task, and we say we have realized our potential therein, then we are saying it is unlikely that we will impact the issue anymore favorably than we already have. I remain reluctant to make such a statement. Ask me if I can surely accomplish a thing and I may answer, "I don't know." Ask me if I will surely try to accomplish a thing and I will answer, "I will."
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          Dec 26 2012: That is very wise, I've suddenly found some more food for thought..
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    Jan 10 2013: To put it as vaguely as possible, there is no such thing as realizing or reaching your true potential. This idea of people having a maximum potential is contradicting to the idea of potential itself. You must first ask yourself what you want in life. Is it money, love, friends, family, a successful career, knowledge, the list goes on and on. As far as I see it, ones potential increases daily since we learn things everyday, good or bad, knowledge is experience. You can not limit yourself by stating that I have reached my potential because I believe potential is exponential and changes everyday do to the decisions you make and the things you want in life. Keep learning, keep living and do what makes you happy. If you forget to think for yourself, you will be trapped in this narrow minded society that tells you there is a limit to ones potential. Potential is endless and so is your knowledge, so stay true to yourself and don't let anyone tell you that you've reached your highest potential, for potential has no limit except the limit you put on yourself. Kcco.
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    Dec 31 2012: No one ever reaches their full potential because the more we learn the more potential we have. Potential is a moving goal post.

    @Blend Frangu is absolutely right when he says, "there is no opportunity to improve or develop your creativity in anything here unless it makes you prosperous or loaded with money". Our potential is always limited by our resources. We have to have the time and money to pursue our dreams. All to often, we are self limiting. "those burning desires and vision started to vanish" and we loose our dream. It is the tragedy of our times. Unless you are very lucky, your job will not full fill your dreams, nor will your job allow you to fulfill your potential.

    Making a lot of money is not fulfilling your potential. It is what you do with that money that allows you to pursue you dreams. My life mission is to help people understand what we must do to leave this earth the kind of place we want our great-grandchildren to live in.

    Iʻve learned to write and to use photography and video to share the story of our earth. Iʻve learned to share my message with others using the media including the internet. Iʻve learned to use the internet to create the income I need to fulfill my mission and I teach others to do what I do.

    To the extent that I am successful at sharing my message, I am reaching my potential. I reach out to others to form relationship that help us work together to create income and work for common goals.

    We have to strike a balance between caring for our family and striving for our goals. Build strong relationships with others and do something every day that brings you closer to realizing your dreams.

    Bill Sager, bsager42@gmail.com, kumuwaiwai.com
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    Dec 28 2012: Hey Kaleb,
    3 years ago I realized I was unauthentic and not reaching my full potential as a human professionally and personally. The last 3 years have been extremely painful and wonderful at the same time. I had to look at myself honestly and ask how I was going to change to reach my full potential. I'm still a work in progress, I suspect I will use the rest of my life to grow and expand as a person. What has helped me overcome hurdles in personal growth is getting into therapy, reading these TED discussions or listening to TED talks, getting my hands on anything and everything from people who have a similar story. Learning from their mistakes/tribulations and applying their work to the work I do for myself. I've always had this feeling that I could be more, but wasn't sure how to accomplish becoming more. I think with a community like TED and with our own intelligence and that of others we can all find a way to be the very best version of ourselves. Hard work and finding a mentor have been life savers to me. Hard work, I can do all on my own. Finding a mentor can be difficult or challenging, but I hope you find someone! When I haven't had a mentor in my life to bounce off professional/personal ideas that's when I reach out to TED, listen to podcasts, reading books by Napoleon Hill, Jillian Michaels, Mike Dooley, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Sam Harris, Robert Kiyosaki etc. Lastly, believe in yourself. This is the best advice I've ever received. Because once you know you can do something, there's no stopping you! Good luck with your journey, may you receive all that you desire!
    Krista
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    Dec 23 2012: Hi Kaleb,
    I believe I have reached my potential at any given time, and there is always more potential.

    The basis of this feeling or belief is that life is a journey, and at any given time, I am reaching the highest potential in that particular moment. For me, it is not about being "at the top", unless we are refering to being "at the top" in that moment. I do the best I can throughout the life journey, and a part of that practice means NOT struggling, or imagining a "better" life in any way. I LOVE being fully engaged in the moment...whatever opportunity the moment offers:>)

    The only "story" regarding passion and potential for me, is to "BE" all that I can "BE" with whatever situation I am moving through in the life adventure. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother, friend, TED participant, former owner of small businesses, former competitive athlete, retired professional actor, model, singer, dancer, gardener, mentor, volunteer in several social services agencies, guest lecturer at the university, survived cancer and a near fatal head injury.....

    We can realize our passion and potential in each and every moment by being fully present and engaged with all of life.....in my humble perception and experience:>)
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      Dec 24 2012: Hi Colleen: I think you have a very precise and smart idea about life journey. I completely agree with you. I think that one of the most fascinating experiences one can develop is just trying to do our best on a new and unknown challenge. If not, life lost a great part of its sense.
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        Dec 24 2012: Thank you Sean. I LOVE living life with the curiosity of a child and unconditional love. The life adventure is, as you insightfully say, fascinating:>)
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          Dec 25 2012: I agree with you. For those of them who hadn't a nice childhood and for everyone, to live with a huge curiosity is one good way (or the best?) for never begin to die, for renew oneself constantly, for making the best use of our time and energy. It's very curious for me, because what you think about that point is just the same as I think about, and I try to convince to my friends about that's a very good way of thinking.
          Or telling it in other way: If one don't see life with child's eyes, one is beginning to die. (Somehow).
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      Dec 24 2012: so you are saying life takes place now
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        Dec 24 2012: In my humble perception sir, yes...now. This moment has never "been" before, and will never "be" again....it is the only reality. I know you know this:>)
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          Dec 25 2012: Otherwise it is sort of like driving down the road by looking in the rear view mirror.
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        Dec 25 2012: Yes....or like letting your wake run your boat:>)
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      Dec 25 2012: Hi Colleen,

      You talk about living now, how can I do that? I know it should be an easy thing to understand, but for some reason, I find it very hard to fathom. I've learned to be grateful for the simplest of things (Watching the sunrise over the islands in the harbor for instance) Perhaps I'm greedy, I'm not sure, but I feel like there has to be more than this. I don't believe in working all day every day to gain financial happiness, but I do it. I want to change the way people see the world, again I have no idea how to do this. Maybe I'm just not capable of being satisfied. I'm just to hungry for life's experiences and lessons. Are things always like this?

      I know it sounds strange (It sounds strange to me as I'm writing this) but there are nights I cannot sleep, because of this burning hole in my chest. This isn't caused by anything physical, rather it's what drives me. I cannot sleep knowing that things in this world, (even just in this one town) are the way they are. Is this normal for people who want change?
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        Dec 26 2012: Hi Kaleb,
        It sounds like you are already living in the NOW. I find that gratitude is a big part of being fully present and mindfully aware in the moment. What is the "MORE" you are seeking?

        Do you think/feel it might be helpful to be clear in yourself before trying to change how others see the world? I find the best teaching method is to "BE" what we want to "SEE" in our world.

        You say..."maybe I'm not capable of being satisfied...just hungry for life's experiences and lessons".

        I have been told a couple times that I am never satisfied BECAUSE of my desire and love of learning, growing and evolving in each and every moment:>) I AM totally satisfied with each and every moment, AND I KNOW there is MORE learning and growing, which I will be doing until I take my last breath on this earth school:>)

        Life is what we make it....don't you think? In my perception it is always about learning and growing. I don't generally lose sleep because of the way things are. As thinking, feeling, intelligent, evolving human beings, we have choices. I choose to be clear about how, why, when, where and with whom I spend my time and energy.

        It is unrealistic to think that as individuals we can change our world. It IS realistic, in my perception, to believe that we can CONTRIBUTE to change in our world.....yes? If we are losing sleep because of our thoughts of all the things in our world that need changing, we may not be using our time, energy and potential in a productive way? The body and mind need sleep to function well.

        How about choosing one thing that you will pursue in your desire to change the world? It depends on your time committments, finances, skills and talents, etc. at different stages in your life. For example, when my kids were little, I volunteered for activities that involved the kids. When I retired, I spent time and energy volunteering with social services agencies. What are YOU capable of, and interested in doing right now?
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          Dec 26 2012: Hello Colleen,
          For some reason, that just clicks. Right now, I've started (with my room mate who happens to be a local Priest) a group called Illogical Arithmetic. Our current project is starting the inside out project here. We've started to undertake this so hopefully it will open peoples eyes, and then they can see the sunrise. Maybe even each other.
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        Dec 27 2012: Kaleb,
        We all have the potential to teach AND learn with any process. So, I strongly suggest that while you are teaching "them" and putting in effort to "open people's eyes", you also open your own heart and mind to learn from "them". We often teach what we need to learn. Your idea of opening other people's eyes is a noble cause, and it suggests that you know more than they do? Are more insightful, evolved or more intelligent then they are? Everyone has something to teach us in every moment, and with the understanding of this concept, we use our full potential to teach AND learn:>)
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    Dec 23 2012: I haven't yet but I am about to.

    "Did you just one day wake up, work hard and suddenly you're at the top?"

    No, I woke up one day with out power or heat, after hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the US, then I got really pissed off and decided to change things.

    Potential and getting to the top are not the same, it is not a step by step process someone can tell you how to accomplish. It is not something that can be taught. It is not about waking up one morning and saying, "hey cup of coffee, then I should do something and draw a chart of my future actions".

    It is about making a change. It is about being consistent and following through. It is about ignoring all of those people around you that say "that is impossible" and moving forward. It is about taking and balancing the risk and stepping on the fires that come up.

    In the end you make your own future.
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    Dec 23 2012: I think realizing your full potential is doing something you are passionate about, something you strongly believe in.
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      Dec 24 2012: Live that passion. I call it my calling. If your career and your calling are not in sync, make a change. If your job doesn't let you live your passion, it is time for a new job, or better yet, your businesses that lets you live your passion.

      What are you doing? Are you living your passion. Do you set goals based on your passion? Do you do something every day that moves you closer to your goals?

      We should never reach our full potential. If we think we have, it is because we have stopped growing and have failed to live our passion.
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        Dec 24 2012: I agree William.........love what we do, and/or do what we love:>)
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        Dec 25 2012: I'll agree with both of you, that is an excellent way to put it. Thank you guys,
  • Dec 22 2012: I know that I have plenty of potential, I don't know how to use any of it
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    Jan 20 2013: Well I guess I am that one person who's watching TED videos and finally doing something... I guess somewhere along the way I met people who wanted me to believe that to have a better life I have to forget about my dreams and do all that "is expected" of me. Including most of my family members.
    I found about TED only few months ago, at first didn't really pay it any attention, but now I cannot go a day without watching at least one video.

    After spending time here, it just made me realize how RIDICULOUS it is NOT to follow your dreams... your passion. I mean... I was raised to believe that there's only one path for everyone. You are good at science? Go, study science. Art is a "no-no". You don't need to DISTRACT yourself unnecessarily with something like that.

    As I said. Ridiculous and narrow-minded. And it just made me scared that I'll be a failure in other fields. But to move forward, you need to accept that failure is a part of life. And you never know what you might excel at :)
    Now I feel free knowing that if I want to paint... I'll paint! I want to learn a new language? Why not give it a try?
    So I would say that I am still in a process of finding myself, but I am really glad I took off the blindfold and am finally seeing the world full of all those vivid colors.
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    Jan 19 2013: The day I will stop realizing my potential will be the day I will die. I even think that some of my thoughts and efforts will continue after me through my friends, family and colleagues, fading slowly with time. I want to leave a legacy.
  • Jan 8 2013: I don't think I'v realized my full potential, but in another way, I have; if that makes any sense. I'v gone through life (being only 18) being nice as possible to everyone and helping as many people as possible. I'v only completed one semester of college and that has already taught me a lot. There was one point in my life (senior year of high school) where I was sure I had everything figured out. I entered college deciding to major in Business, but since then, I have changed my major 3 times. I am now majoring in Management with the option of HRM. I chose this because I really like solving problems and making sure things are done right, I'm kind of a perfectionist in a way.

    I know all of that was a little off topic but I think I was put on this earth to help other people and make sure things are done right.

    I hope all of that didn't sound to cliche but in a way, I think I have found my potential.
  • Jan 8 2013: No, I don't think I've yet to realise my potential. One thing is for sure though- I don't think potential can be realised in a day. It took me years to find my calling and now that I've embarked on this road, it will probably take many more years before I become the best that I can be. To realise your potential, I feel that you have to be passionate about a cause or idea. Next, you have to work towards that cause. Many failures will take place before you realise your potential because it takes a lot of learning and a humble attitude to realise that you have so much more to learn. Even then it takes more learning and growing before you finally feel that you have attained your fullest potential.

    Personally, I'm not there yet so I wouldn't know what it feels like. :)
  • Jan 8 2013: well first advice would be to beware of people and especially publications that try to tell you how to realise your potential. your potential is mostly indeterminate, and if anything is able to influence your potential it's usually others. i can tell you what has been working for me though:

    strive for efficiency - improvement always comes about through trying to get more out of less, say making customers happier without increasing the workload. this raises what you are able to achieve and what you will next be able to achieve.

    be dubious - any idea you have about how to make something better will by definition be amateur, because it's new. spend at least a year mulling over and trying to find holes in your plans, so that when you try them they have the best chance of success and you are less likely having to flounder to fix a problem you hadn't foreseen. so many people who "know" they could do something better actually just don't have the information to understand that their ideas are terrible.

    don't ask - other people are also dubious, it's just a part of human biology, and they don't have the same experience. plenty of secretaries' great ideas have been shot down by a boss who's never spent a day as a secretary! be careful with though, of course. start small, and work up to bolder ideas as your standing grows - it's easier to forgive a $10,000 failure to a salesman with a 5 year history of consistent success than an upstart who hasn't yet landed a major deal. it's unfortunate, but clout matters.
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      Jan 9 2013: " If anything is able to influence your potential it's usually others " - Ben I feel this is one of the best statements I have come across - ever!!
      • Jan 9 2013: these days it's not up to the teachers, it's set by education departments, psychologists, principals (who no longer teach, remember!) and school boards.

        it's interesting you chose that talk. ken robinson is great speaker, and his studies in english and drama mean that's hardly surprising, but he hasn't taught a single class in his life so it's also hardly surprising that he has no idea what he's talking about. everything he has to say sounds great but is detached from reality. it's people like him who have no experience in education but feel compelling to dictate what should be done that are the problem. creativity is important yes and ken mentions how creative all those TED speakers were, completely ignoring the fact that they all had a decidedly non-creative education which gave the the knowledge and skills they would need to then be able to take the next step creatively.

        i myself love kids designs of things like buildings, they always come up with imaginative ways to make skyscrapers that look like giraffes and such, but of course they couldn't actually be built because things like gravity and shear stress don't vary according to how creative the builder is, and things like elevator shafts and plumbing need to be taken into account. learn about the world first, then apply creativity. there's a reason the phrase "starving artist" exists in the english language.

        perhaps you can think of a situation where suppressing a student's creativity would help them reach their potential?
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    Jan 6 2013: I hope not! Based on average life expectancy, I have approximately 25 years left. The thought of not growing during that time is depressing.
  • Dec 24 2012: Conversations about potential are usually meant to motivate people. Sometimes they do the opposite, by making people feel bad about themselves. In a sense, personal potential is a myth because we can never know anyone's potential. One of humanity's most pleasant characteristics is our ability to surprise ourselves with our accomplishments.

    Perhaps a more pointed question would be, are you using all of your talents?
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      Dec 24 2012: I agree that the concept is bogus which says there is some particular set of skills built-in to everyone and we must strive to know what set we have and learn to live within the confines of that set.
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        Dec 25 2012: @ Juliette Zahn: Sorry, we have discouraged you. I think, I understand what you mean emotionally and I agree with you :-) Words are not the best way to communicate. Wonderful holidays to you too...
      • Dec 26 2012: The real problem to solve is discovering what your strongest skill-set is. That is the most difficult puzzle for me to solve.
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          Dec 27 2012: Often people are good at something that they don't like doing. And often people are not passionate and energetic enough to make effort to do what they like. E.g. many people enjoy to exercise, but they don't like the effort. That complicates the puzzle...

          Lady Gaga's "Born this way" song makes it sound as if anyone could be a rock star. It may be inspirational, but does not seem to be true. My favorite quote from Eeyore "we can't all and some of us don't" sometimes sounds more encouraging :-).
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          Dec 27 2012: Tedd and Arkady,
          Sometimes, it may seem like a puzzle because we (humans) often try very hard to "think" about it and put it into a logical, reasonable structure. To be aware of what I love doing, I first "feel" it....what makes our heart sing? What brings bliss and joy to our lives? What is the activity we can get lost in? Once something draws me with a "feeling", then I use the logical mind to work out the details of how I will pursue the goal.

          Arkady,
          You say..."often people are not passionate and energetic enough to make effort to do what they like. E.g. many people enjoy to exercise, but they don't like the effort. That complicates the puzzle..."

          I agree with this....sometimes people simply want something without putting in the effort?
          To use your example, they may like the RESULTS of exercising, and don't really want to contribute to that process. Do you think that some folks have a sense of entitlement? It seems like I observe that in our world.

          For me, part of the pleasure of reaching a goal, is being aware of the effort I put in to reach that goal, and I'm wondering if that may be a piece of the puzzle that some folks are missing? Contributing the effort is a big part of realizing our potential, in my perception. There's no fun in having something handed to us. In my perseption and experience, it is the journey....all of the journey.....which contributes to potential.....and......everything else IMHO:>)
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      • Dec 24 2012: I disagree. I think Edward is correct. Any estimation of our abilities will be grossly underestimated. When faced with a crisis, especially when survival is at stake, people are capable of redefining themselves and accomplishing the impossible. "Human potential" can only limit us. We must use a better vocabulary, that avoids any limitations and emphasizes the importance of our choices. We do not find ourselves; we invent ourselves.
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        Dec 25 2012: Juliette, what you say, although is well-intended, does not make sense.

        Re: "personal potential being a myth because we can never know anyone's potential" This is exactly why personal potential is a myth. How often those "teachers" of whom you speak consider a student hopeless, and the student grows up to be a successful businessman? I can dig examples from personal life or other sources, but you may agree with me.

        Re: "Every person knows inside their deepest heart what their potential is. No one else." This seems to contradict your thesis that teachers can know potential of their students. I can also argue that we don't know our own potential either.

        It still seems to me that "potential" is a matter of faith. This is one of the mysteries of our life that religions capitalize on - read the stories how David became king, defeated Goliath, etc. I don't think, this concept can be rationally explained. We can only appeal to emotion here as in many other areas of our life.
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      Dec 25 2012: We cannot do more than we can, can we?
      We all have a limit, but the beauty is that we don't know it. This creates illusion of "potential". It all comes down to faith. We set our own limits in our head. I'm not sure if this mental exercise is useful.
      • Dec 25 2012: That is exactly my point. The concept of potential is not useful, certainly not as useful as inventing ourselves. Starting out by putting limits on ourselves puts limits our selves. Not useful.
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        Dec 25 2012: Arkady and Barry,
        I think the concept is useful and a fun exercise...another cycle:>)

        Arkady,
        You say..."We all have a limit, but the beauty is that we don't know it."

        Could it be that we are all UNlimited, and we create our limits? I agree that "we set our own limits in our head":>)
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      Dec 25 2012: Re: "Starting out by putting limits on ourselves puts limits our selves. Not useful."

      "Putting limits" is deciding what we cannot do. That is not useful. But is it useful to decide what we *should* do with our life? E.g. if I decide that my potential is to become a scientist, doesn't it mean closing myself to other possibilities?

      I would agree with you that the best approach is to "invent ourselves" by finding out what we love and doing it without much concern of what we can or cannot, should or should not do. Sometimes, even what we love does not matter. We simply have to deal with what life throws at us.
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        Dec 26 2012: Arkady,
        Perhaps we can focus on one thing for awhile when we feel we want to pursue that goal, and that does not necessarily mean we close ourselves off from other possibilities....does it? It hasn't meant that for me anyway. I have passionately, excitedly pursued what I loved doing, at various stages of the life adventure, and that continues to change.

        While pursuing what we love, it also helps to use our logical, reasonable mind to help guide the process. I think/feel it's important to be practical and consider everything else that is happening in our world, like family, finances, etc. Pursuing what we love without consideration for people and circumstances is probably not using our full potential:>)
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          Dec 27 2012: Yes. It's like riding a bicycle - turning a wheel where we lean so that we don't fall while keeping a general direction in mind and, sometimes, taking scenic routes when we like it or detours when the road is not what we expected. Sometimes we just have to get through that sandy road or get off the bike and push it up the hill.
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        Dec 27 2012: I LOVE the metaphor Arkady, and wholeheartedly agree.....it sounds, looks and feels a LOT like balance!
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    Dec 23 2012: No
    I feel realizing one's full potential means end of her/his HUNGER to do anything else.....how does that sound?
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      Dec 24 2012: Reaching ones potential is another name for giving up. Potential grows as we grow. The goal post moves as we grow. If you allow others to define your potential you will never achieve your potential.
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      Dec 24 2012: Salim and William,
      Potential:
      "existing in possibility..."

      Salim,
      I feel "hungry" for possibility, and I believe "potential" grows as we grow, as William says. So, if we feel that we have reached the end of our hunger, or potential, it feels like giving up possibilities to me.....what do you think about that?
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        Dec 28 2012: Colleen
        I feel HUNGER is the magic .....What William said about potential's potentiality to grow happens if one can keep that HUNGER sustained....
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          Dec 29 2012: Salim,
          I think I understand what you mean when refering to hunger as a motivator in relationship to potential. Perhaps it is our individual image, perception or interpretation of "hunger", because I cannot say that I ever felt "hungry" for potential. In fact, I've most often felt very "full" with potential, and it is that fullness that has been a foundation for growth:>)
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        Dec 31 2012: Good day Colleen
        I guess we are talking same thing but in different laguage or from different perspective....
        Feeling "very Full" which you referred I guess by saying so you wanted to mean a state of self full fimilment that's fine if that does not make one complacent. On the other hand lack of self fullment may turn one in to state of frustration....resulting into emission of negative energy so we need a balance between two...

        From my cultural backdrop I am sharing a saying in my language that says "it's healthy to keep one's stomach a bit empty, full full eating is killing"......wonder about origin of such proverb in my socio cultural backdrop ....may be despite being one hugely resourceful my country historically was poverty striken , where for a great proportion of people it was a luck to eat full stomach a meal in a day....so that proverb came as a solace.....neverthless full full stomach is really not good for health...

        Let me take POTENTIAL as metaphor of Stomach....and HUNGER is the desire to fill that. Whatever can be one's POTENTIAL if one can keep the HUNGER alive s/he can use her POTENTIAL in a much better way....That's the point I wanted to shed light on....

        Happy New Year
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          Dec 31 2012: Hi Salim,
          There is another saying that may apply here...
          Necessity is the mother of invention. When we are "hungry", perhaps there is sometimes more motivation to find food (potential)!

          My parents went through the depression, when many things were scarce. When I was growing up (after the depression) we had a huge garden, my mother canned food, and we always had a HUGE supply of canned home grown food in the cupboard. They may have been hungry at times, and by the time I came along, there was an abundance. Perhaps that is where I got my perception of always being "full"!!!

          I agree that sometimes, if we feel too "full", it can lead to complacence. Perhaps I am kind of odd in that respect....I usually feel full, and I am aware of another level of "fullness":>)

          In my perception, every moment offers opportunity and potential, so it is a never ending gift and possibility. I wholeheartedly agree Salim....it is about finding BALANCE, and whatever perception we have in our quest for that balance in ourselves is good:>)

          Wishing you a safe, loving New Year my friend:>)
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    Dec 22 2012: If it has be realized, then it ceases to be a potential. Right?
  • Dec 22 2012: I have achieved greatly due to my innate tenacity and work ethic but my ultimate goal to reach my full potential will never end until I am dead and buried. EVERY DAY is a search for full potential
  • Jan 19 2013: I totally agree with colleen and william. Its really a great thought. To reach to your full potential, follow your dreams, follow your passion. Love what you do n do what you love and sky is the limit.
  • Jan 19 2013: I'm halfway through my 68th year and I'm still realizing my potential every day. Every person has a different goal in life, and I became aware early on in my life that I wanted to learn new things - every day.
    I have been:
    Triple-threat, multilingual stage performer
    Recording artist
    Union sound tech
    Sculptor
    Painter
    Writer
    Working Chef
    Graphic Artist
    Web Designer
    Webmaster
    Teacher
    Life is long if we're lucky, and there is plenty of time to do the things we really want to do. And I still strive to learn something new every day.
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    Jan 14 2013: In it's own definition potential is considered as what's possible as opposed to what is actual. Embracing that definition I would say yes! As my belief of what's possible increases and expands my ability to actualize strengthens. Having obliterated deadlines many times in my life, done what others said couldn't be done, defied belief (or lack thereof) through repeated actions makes me say yes. Years ago a friend of mine that is a very well known singer and I were out shopping with several friends. As the two of us broke away from the pack she shared with me that one of the things she liked most about our friendship was that I was not envious of her popularity or fan base. Immediately I shared with her of course not because my clients treat me the way her fans treat her!

    This one exchange enabled me at an early age to determine what success and achievement really are. Success doesn't mean you're a household name. Look at how many people are famous for doing nothing. Success or reaching my potential for the sake of this forum is being the highest and best version of myself at that moment, where I am with what I'm doing. Knowing that more will be added to me as I progress along. My framework may be different than others. That's because it's mine.

    You see, ever since childhood I was affirmed that I had something worthy of listening to. I would grow up and refer to it as being a voice and not an echo. Responsibility (responding to the ability within) comes with awareness. So, as I continue to evolve and grow my new definition of my potential grows as well. Kinda like the saying, " what brought me here, won't take me there". I look at challenges, obstacles, obstructions, dilemmas all as guideposts and tools to get me to my new "there".

    They are all life lessons that refine me which is why I embrace them readily!:~)
    • Jan 14 2013: I would say you must be a confident and charming lady in yoru life because of self-affirmation. In fact, most people tend to lose themselves especially in current modern life. Finding our personal values are more informortant than to do something profound. Good luck, everyone.
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        Jan 14 2013: What a nice thing to share Zac thank you. I agree with you there are so many things pulling and yelling for our attention carving out My Daily Practice is tough some days. Good luck to you too Zac!

        Jacqui:~)
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      Jan 14 2013: You say " I look at challenges, obstacles, obstructions, dilemmas all as guideposts and tools to get me to my new "there". I quite agree with your thinking .
      However,in a calm time of one's life,he or she might consider things that way.If one is fall into a bad ,even hopeless situation,the idea is gone .After that hard time ,the thinking will be back again .
      So ,It's meaningful in our life how to make the thinking in our mind all the time.My opinion is that making some friends who have the same idea you mentioned ,may be helpful for our absent mind in that painful time .He or she would give you a prompt at the time.
      It's my framework and my humble opinion ,not offense men.
  • Jan 13 2013: Potential is a value judgement based on possible future outcomes. It passively infers a deficiency of ability in the present or a mythical ability that will be magically realized.

    I believe focusing on present strengths and setting incremental, attainable goals to build a tangible path to success. Potential is a chimera that creates feelings of failure or delusions of grandeur.
  • Jan 13 2013: Everyone maximizes their potential every moment of every day by definition. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses. Our support mechanisms and our self sabotaging behavior. The question seems to beg for an elitist response of back patting. If I could do more, I would. So would you. So would the homeless person sleeping in an alley. So would Steven Hawking. For me, the question only makes sense if you start dissecting the elements that go in to making a human being. Feeling superior to someone who is struggling with life because your genetics and circumstances have allowed you to be more (fill in the blank) is the same as criticizing a paraplegic for failing to run a marathon. Can we improve? Of course, but only to the limits of our potential to improve which is defined by factors which are primarily out of our control
  • Jan 12 2013: To become what we want to become, we always need self-confidence.We need to dare to do what we know is right even if nobody is watching us.Unfortunately, very few people have enough self-confidence that last a lifetime.Therefore, if we want to succeed and achieve our goals ,we must work on our self-confidence everyday.There's not much we can do without trusting ourselves and in our capacity to grow.I would not be where I am today if I did not believe in my ability to grow and prosper.
    It is not enough to have self-trust but it can help us do all we need to do to achieve our goals.
    Some of the best ways to increase self-confidence are to read biographies and advice of successful people and to mingle with positive people.That's what I have been doing for more than a decade.
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    Jan 9 2013: Please forgive me for answering your question with a question.... isn't this the kind of question that could really only be answered at the end of one's life?! :-)
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      Jan 9 2013: Of course you are forgiven ma'am.

      I think you're right if you are speaking of ones full potential.
      When referring to one's potential I didn't necessarily mean a full potential, rather a certain direction of the potential. For instance, with my current job, I've reached the top of where I can without devoting my life to it (which I'm obviously unwilling to do) so now I want to start in a new direction.

      With any luck, at the end of my life I will be able to look back and think I did well with most things, and realized my full potential in a few.
  • Jan 7 2013: Have I realized my potential? Not really. Or at least not yet.

    The better question for me would be whether or not I realized where my potential actually lies. And that I've actually found out, which finally gave me a direction to head in life. And all it took was deciding to go to grad school because I couldn't find a job after getting a Bachelor's degree to find out where my potential is and the things that actually matter and interest me.
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    Jan 7 2013: For me it was the day I discovered that Life is nothing more than a journey to death.

    It made me question the rational for my activity in life when, no matter, I was going to die anyway. This, of course, led to the realization that life was more about contributing to those who will be left behind such that my actions during my life will help them to find the answers to their questions.

    After understanding all this. My life became extremely simple. I only need to fuel my body and cloth it in comfort from the environment to realize all my dreams. I became a knowledge sponge soaking up all I can while I'm alive.

    To me this is all that life is about, learning as much as you can before you die so you can become at ease with the fact you will die.

    All other motivations, to me, are insignificant.
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    Jan 6 2013: I am not so sure one can absolutely realize one´s potential in the sense that there are so many opportunities to do so many different things and your full potential may never be fully realized. I like the fact that life has so many options. I frequently reinvent myself to partake of the most interesting and feasible opportunities out there for me. My most recent reinvention of myself would have been a career change from financial analyst to teaching English as a foreign language. But I know there are still other opportunities out there that I would like to try like writing fiction or exploring more of the world and learning about more cultures and meeting new people. So I suppose I could just say that I am embracing the opportunities that life presents me to explore my potential.
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    Gavin J

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    Jan 6 2013: Your potential "today" will be reached, but your "overall/life" potential will never be reached because it is always changing. As you find yourself closer to your aspirations , you will (hopefully) continue to push yourself harder and further to goals within the passion you speak of.

    For a personal example:
    My extrinsic goal for 2013 is to make DIII Nationals for cross country. If I accomplish this, I will continue pushing my body and mind to its limits and form to goals - being All-American, setting a new personal record or winning nationals. The list would continue to grow and change as I accomplished more and more.

    In response to your question: "Did you just one day wake up, work hard and suddenly you're at the top?"
    I do not believe I will ever say to myself, "Hey, I'm nice and cozy here up at the top so I'm all done with this passion of mine!"
  • Jan 5 2013: Check The School of Life, they have very interesting classes on how to realise your potential!
  • Jan 4 2013: For me, I wouldn't use the word 'realize'. Well, to be honest, I use that word quite often, but I think that's a bit misused. Maybe there are genetic factors that enable me to do something great or at least better than other things. Maybe in my mind, there are some special memories of being inspired by something that made me keep focusing on particular specialties. By doing that, I may have been able to manage to do that well while 'realizing' I may be natural.
    Not just for metaphor, but I believe potential is not inside of us, but it's outside of us. It's something we unconsciously earn while we're alive. We're just taking it for granted as if it's already ingrained to our selves. That's why we think it's ours. If I discover myself being good at something, something everyone admits I'm good at, I feel great. I am grateful for this opportunity to perform well(or to use this key word here, showing 'potentials..?')
    On the other hand, I'm still not satisfied because there are so many things I want to be good at. I think I have a potential to do this, but it's just a matter of my lack of efforts and fortune. Or I might envy someone who seems to have more great potentials than I seem to have. We are lucky in some way.
    We say, "God, I never knew I am capable of doing this!", not knowing that is the Christmas present that Santa's left under the tree. We didn't choose to get our gifts in the first place, however, just like kids, we are thrilled to receive surprising presents.
    And we believe there still are much more wonderful presents that Santa might be carrying to give to us while thinking that the reason why we don’t get those is that we’re not trying hard enough and we’re not being good girls in front of Santa.
    Actually we don’t know how to kiss up to Santa. We don’t know the way to get those unknown gifts.
    But when time comes—often unpredictable, we notice there still are Christmas gifts for us.
    We’re still kids when it comes to finding out our ‘potentials’.
    • Jan 14 2013: Good luck, girl. But don't push your self too hard. Have a nice day.
  • Dec 31 2012: As I watch the fireworks light up the TV screen, I can't help but wonder what it truly means? The turn of a number most of us hold as a new leaf, a symbol of hope, the chance for more opportunities of change. It's powerful, only if the message isn't lost in the noise of the fireworks, or the taste of the fancy food or the colours of our beautiful clothes. Who matters? We matter!! And I know it is a small one, but campaign to put our honourable intentions back into the spotlight! We have GDP, jobless rates, Academic passing rates, crime rates, and every other form of statistical measure that lately seem to be more bleak than anything! Celebrate this new year with me, and share with me oh those so very meaningful numbers!

    http://perspectivemargins.blogspot.hk
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    Dec 31 2012: Hi Juliette,
    I reach out to others to build strong and trusting relationships. I try to get acquainted and find common interests, Once that relationship is established, I work to keep it fresh and strong. Working together for common goals is a great way to keep a relationship strong.

    In 2013, I will be tracking legislation that affects our Hawaiian environment and encouraging others to advocate for good bills and against bad ones. I will produce 12 environmental documentaries which will be posted to YouTube and broadcast on our public TV. And, I will help at least 24 people start their own work-from-anywhere internet business that will help them reach their potential. I will help some of those people start their aquaponics garden.

    What about your goals for 2013? What will you do to move closer to realizing your dreams? When you share your goals you are making a commitment to the people you share them with to follow through and do what you say. Sharing will motivate you to make your dreams come true.

    Bill Sager, 808-258-4019, kumuwaiwai.com
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      Jan 9 2013: Hi Bill, How incredibly lucky for us to have had Dr. Seuss!! His words go through my mind every day :-)
      I appreciate this. I will keep the info and report back to you:-)
  • Dec 30 2012: I come from a country that is still in the developing stage,I recall vividly that daily on my mind was a burning desire to be a successful actor but soon that desire changed into being a professional speaker and teacher of many languages.

    As soon as I finished my primary school my parents advised me into going to secondary school of agriculture and the majority of my friends had totally a different direction comparing to the one I had chosen(recommended by my parents),they mainly chose to go to Gymnasium and secondary school of Economics.It was difficult to separate myself from those friends that were so beloved to me.

    As time went by,I realized that I had to fought for survival because of the unstable and weak economy those burning desires and vision started to vanish and honestly I was being kind of naive into nourishing those desires in vain,but there is no opportunity to improve or develop your creativity in anything here unless it makes you prosperous or loaded with money otherwise it won't pay off.But I,myself was really interested and I loved passionately to develop those but I tried in vain.

    Currently,I am studying at the university of Agriculture,to be more exact I am aiming to be a businessman about agriculture even though I had never ever imagined to make such a choice as I was a kid.As a matter of fact,I genuinely am good at languages and by the way,I've got to admit that I've decided that as soon as I finish my first year of studying Agriculture I am going to double my studies I mean into going to study English Literature simultaneously.

    I would like to put myself to a father's shoes and give my point of view from that place,I believe to be completely right to always support your kids into what they think they're capable of,to help them out into succeeding in what they like and strive for rather than forcing them to make choices that will not make them satisfied afterwards.
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    Dec 30 2012: I do not believe a person has one potential. We have several and perhaps one more stronger than others or at times a few togeather. For example: I can have a potential for creative design, start a company and realize that I have a potential for business and sales, and eventually realize a potential to be philantropic with my earnings. Hence, a persons potential can be a few at different stages in their lives as one is continously learning, getting inspired and trying out new things and making decesions to develop what they like and pursue it further.

    I write, paint, develop new business ideas, develop marketing strategies, actively participate in product development, love to cook, etc.. for each of these interests of mine, the respective audience stringly believe that I have a great potential and flair for it. So, to answer your question. "Yes?"
  • Dec 29 2012: i think i still have to find myself in a string of thread I'm pulling out together. I have a job which I can;'t totally commit myself with, primarily because it is not my passion. I have pursued something that I partially love, my heart and mind are in constant race for significance, and I find myself in a cross road of opportunities.
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      Dec 29 2012: Kaycee,
      How would it feel to believe that you ARE ALREADY VERY SIGNIFICANT? Simply "being" yourself and pursuing "life" is significant....do you think? "Cross road of opportunities" sounds like a GREAT place to be....many possibilities?
  • Dec 28 2012: i considered with my life, since i have graduated from college, i always think "my life begin". That's moment when i think grew up. If i bored with my activity, i'll go to somewhere for relax my mind.
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    Dec 27 2012: You might be interested in a book by Eric Berne called Games People Play. By using a value laden word like 'game' there is the implication that each individual has ultimate control over outcomes and that is not the case. As other posters have said here, focus on what you want. Berne's book is about how hidden factors such as belief structures manifest in our behaviours and can trip us up. Like you I love to hear other people's life stories. In recent weeks I have met some amazing people on the bus, all survivors like you. So what might help you, perhaps imagining you are writing a book for your grandchildren ?
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      Dec 27 2012: I'll confess after reading your post, I just bought the book on amazon. I like how you say grandchildren, not children of nieces and nephews.. it makes it more.. permanent. I won't promise that I can write every day, but I will try for 30 days and see how things change.
      If I may ask, do you know why you enjoy peoples stories so much? I've tried to figure out why I do, and the only reason I can come up with is my separation from the majority of my family by geographical distance. The distance made it difficult to hear their stories, so now I crave to hear everyone's. That and I love to learn from them. Crazy?
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        Dec 28 2012: Not at all Kaleb. Have similar life experience to you, Like you referenced it is all about personal growth. When I was about your age I wrote down a quote ' A man who keeps a diary pays due toll to many tedious days but life becomes eventful - then his busy hand forgets the pen. Most books (he meant diaries I hope) indeed, are records less of fulness than of emptiness' William Allingham 1824-1889. You are so right there is so much to learn from other people's life experiences. It gives you tools and resources when you do meet the wierd things life chucks at you. I think writing for 30 days like you are contemplating is now called blogging. (have my own fascination with words and meanings). Very best of luck to you in this experiment (in psychology it is called an experiential journey). Remember to take some time to digest (reflect) on the whole experience.
  • Dec 25 2012: Its funny that i love science alot but cant tell what my potential is!
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      Dec 27 2012: As much as some people would like it, science cannot answer all questions in our life...
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    Dec 25 2012: The best movie about "potential" is, perhaps, Forrest Gump:
    "Now the secret to this game is, no matter what happens, never, ever take your eye off the ball."
  • Dec 23 2012: i'll join the No group.
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    Dec 23 2012: I know i have loads of potential to fulfill my dreams but something does stop me at times to stop dreaming!!
  • Dec 23 2012: Well I think reaching your full potential has more to do with your personal growth more than your monetary value....I think that now but if you asked me that 20years ago i"m sure my views were different. Maybe we never reach our full potential and thats what drives us to do more and do better things in our lives.
  • Dec 23 2012: Depends on what you mean by 'realizing your potential'.

    If you mean monetary success that is more of a lottery/random chance then much to do with hard work. I've seen plenty of talented people passed over for incompetent ones and I've seen plenty of great products fail.

    Why people succeed/or don't is not based on any kind of rationality, morality or justice. The universe just works the way it does and people being part of the universe are irrational and imperfect animals.
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    Dec 23 2012: No
  • Dec 22 2012: Interesting question. In a different forum this question has been discussed at length. http://marilynvossavant.com/achieving-your-potential/

    I think Edward is asking the right type of clarifying question, although I want to distinguish it from giving up. I am going to define "my potential" here as my ability to use my knowledge, talent, and time effectively towards accomplishing something I think benefits me, my family, my friends, my country or mankind in general.

    Although you can apply this statement to a lot, I think it is most usually associated with pursuit of some goal or a career. In this instance, reaching your potential is sort of a personal assessment about the amount of knowledge, talent, motivation and time you spend in your pursuit, relative to your perception of what is necessary for success. From this assessment, you might then consider what sort of residual capacity you have and compare it to your ability to use more of your knowledge, talent and time effectively elsewhere. Somewhere in this comparison, you need to balance the importance of the different alternatives using the metrics you are using to define success (money, happiness, satisfaction, opinions of others, etc.) . This is pretty complicated and going to be different for each person. Further complicating the "right" answer is that both sides of the equation change through life. Your knowledge, talents and skills are constantly changing through your career, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. That is OK however, because your metrics for success will also change. Many of the external events life throws at you, such as health, tragedy, changing priorities, family, war, regime changes, and religious or philosophical experiences, cause a constant re-evaluation of the equation, so it is temporal. Indecision in the chaos can torment you.

    I think achieving potential, along with other quality of life measures is just one factor in the great happiness trade-off with life.
  • Dec 22 2012: I don't know what my potential is so I don't know if I have achieved it yet! Maybe it has come and gone.
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      Dec 24 2012: Richard,
      Recognizing, appreciating, accepting and having gratitude for our potential makes it a more noticible element in our lives.....try it....you'll like it. I see your potential simply by reading your comments:>)
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    Dec 22 2012: I think I've realized a lot of it. I would say it's an ongoing process, that it never ends until you die.

    For me, realizing my potential probably isn't first about money. It's more about living a creative, courageous life, and the money follows.

    Realizing one's potential takes a million things, I suppose thousands of entire books have been written about it. One important thing is to be willing to do things that are difficult for you, that challenge you, as long as they are positive things to do. For example, it's hard for me to speak before groups. From time to time I have the opportunity to do it, and I always go for it, because I know that even though it's hard, it's satisfying and rewarding. In fact, I often have the opportunity to call in and speak on the radio, here in the States we have "talk radio," where members of the audience listening to a radio program can call in and talk about their ideas on the air. In this case you could be talking in front of many thousands of people. Even though it's hard for me, when I have a good idea, I always call in, because I know it's a way to grow and learn. Thus I've been on the air over two hundred times.

    Do you have "talk radio" in Australia?
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    Dec 22 2012: I have not reached my potential. If I had, I would not have a reason to get up in the morning.
  • Jan 21 2013: I can't say I've realised my full potential. I think a more appropriate conversation should be "Have you found your passion/purpose & you are using it as a business to change the world, How did you find it & used it for change?" Because this is something most of us don't know & haven't found. I'm still trying to find mine & its not so easy and straight. Any ideas on this is most welcome, thanks.
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    Jan 21 2013: I don't think I have, but I don't exactly know what my potential is either. I think it's best if we don't know, so we can always hope for a better future!
  • Jan 21 2013: First, this is such a great question, thank you

    Second, as I'm an undergraduate student, I can say that I have not realized my potential yet because I'm on the way !

    If we generalize it, we can easily see that everyone is on the way which is indicated according to the potential. Thus, I state that if we realize our potential, we can be sure that it is the end.
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    Jan 14 2013: Absolutely Frankey! It's why I journal, have a wisdom bookshelf, a Wall of Accomplishments as well as a core group of friends to remind me like touchstones of times when I think I can't get through "this" reminds me that I can because I got through "that".

    Thanks for your reply.

    Jacqui:~)
  • Jan 14 2013: My Story of becoming a software engineer was really funny. I was doing my bachelors in commerce. Suddenly my father asked me to appear in entrance for MBA and MCA in our country which is 20 days away. I took a 15 day examination only course for the entrance exam which was written by 1,20,000 people.

    Coming from a middle class family, my father has asked me to do a correspondence MBA if i qualify for the exam. As the college fees for two years of MBA or MCA course is around 10,000 dollars in private colleges, I though of joining a correspondence course for 250$ year and get a professional degree.

    I wrote the exam which was one of my all time best and received 95th rank in the exam... Ayila... (Alaas), I am one of the students in the top university in India, and the fees omg, only 200$ a year as it is a government college.

    Now after my degree, I am one of the lucky software engineers from India working for a reputed telecom company (Aricent) for 30,000$ per year.

    Life is such a challenge. It is good if you take up the challenge and give 100% effort.

    Cheers,
    Sriram
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    Jan 13 2013: What is that great Henry Ford quote...“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”
    ......so it's all in the belief and articulation.
    I am blessed to be in my dream job (school leadership) and I have recently reflected on this theme...potential is so complex...I was discussing with a colleague a few days ago on the nature of 'exceeding ones potential' in my view not possible. I have to say the nature of potential is about intrinsic motivation...and the two are closely linked, before we find what really (and specifically) drives us, we cannot begin to realise our potential. I believe we can only accurately define our potential (extrinsic motivation only works for so long)...as educators we must work on the motivation aspect to unlock potential...every child must find their passion whilst learning a little bit about everything else... It's a big ask but lies at the heart of true achievement. I think we need to get better at fostering this in schools.
  • Jan 11 2013: I feel the same as a few posters here in that, reaching one's fullest potential is a never ending cycle. But I will dive into my own little paragraph of how I think I have reached some of my potential.

    As a kid I was told, as most others, I had soooo much potential. And I grew up thinking I was going to make this grand mark in my, and other's, lives. I just knew in my heart that I was meant for big things and had big dreams. But as I approach my mid life - nothing out of the extraordinary has occurred. So, this past year, as I contemplated switching careers to spice things up a bit, I had to do some serious searching within myself. Why was I going to switch careers now? I have all this work expereince, make decent money (can afford my wife ;) and I like what I do.

    My answer was; because I was suppose to be something bigger than what I am now.

    My rebuttal was; but I like what I do now and I am good at it, so why not concede to this fact and create potential in other areas of my life?

    So, here I sit, looking at sites where I can fulfill other areas, such as my spirit, and let some areas rest at their fullest potential... till I need to fill up on potential again.
  • 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
  • Jan 11 2013: Realising our own potential? It is in the language you accurately used. "Realising".

    Our potential is what and who we already are, complete and perfect.
    Unfortunately, we cover it up with several layers of dust and crust of egoic mind; fear mostly.

    Free yourself!!
    To realise our own potential, strip off and leave behind the habit of replaying the past. Take care of what can be and needs to be done now.

    I think it would help if we start by gradually identifying those multiple layers of values and beliefs that we consciously or otherwise hold onto. Majority of them are probably obsolete. A few of them could possibly define our rigid and/or aggressive response/ . Peeling away the crust that covers over conscious and you will discover your own potential the bright and beautiful self - just as when we were born. This marvelous self is in all of us - but most of us gradually cover it with dust and crust and became to believe that we are that dim light.

    Then work up the courage to let go of them, free ourselves from our own ego. Human beings have great potential to bring about great things - we are only limited by our own mind.

    The most powerful thing to do is to contribute to society - the global community. That's what we all have potential to achieve.
  • Jan 9 2013: I think this lends well to the "Can you Have it All?" type question, and in the end, it's the definition of potential that matters, and then it's the frequency of measurement that follows. I think most people have many facets to their lives, potential as a good person, a good parent, son, daughter, employee, gatherer of resources, writer, field goal kicker, trash collector. Is our potential or ceiling the same? Is it relative to starting point? Why (or do) we feel a CEO of a Fortune 500 has a more credible story of reaching their potential than say, a movie clerk attendant? I think that's training, and society, and it is what it is, and it doesn't really matter that much in the end if you're not happy with yourself. So that would train the idea of reaching your potential towards personal evaluation. Which leads back to what's important to you and how are you addressing it. Fantastically successful people, visibly successful, newspaper noted successes, at least the ones that I have known, pay a price b/c that dedication to be great, that singular drive, takes time and energy and potential in other areas are left to suffer. I know many cases of Partners in big firms who now make scads of money and can afford fantastic vacations, but the 10-15 years where they just disappeared, it matters (if it does to you). Spouse, kids, everything is in play, which is why I think potential is a moving target that changes as fast as your define it. If you are lucky enough to ponder what you want to do to reach your potential (versus needing to fight for survival), thank those that helped you there and don't forget it.
  • Jan 9 2013: Personallly Kaleb, your statement "I've reached the top of where I can without devoting my life to it (which I'm obviously unwilling to do)" tells me that you have realized your potential - at least from a career perspective. If money is not an issue - meaning you pay your bills and cater for your family and save for your future - then why would you wish to upset that equilibrium of work/life balance that you seem to have achieved? If your life does not seem to be fulfilled with the top that you have reached in your job, then you need to supplement it with something outside of your job. Your potential and your need to reach it is so much more than what you can achieve in your career. When you have something outside of your career that you can reach for and that truly adds value to your life, then it will not matter that you are at the top of your career and you will have a new direction without upsetting the great balance you already have and you will be happy to remain at the top of your current vocation.
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      Jan 9 2013: Maybe IF should rephrase my response, There is no where else in my current role thatnI would want to be promoted to. I canot see myself doing this job because I despise it, and the places it could take me.. so now I,'m attempting to go in another direction.
  • Jan 9 2013: Doing sth you hadn't done before. something challenging. magnesium sulphate from Rech Chemical Co.Ltd
  • Jan 8 2013: Never!
  • Jan 8 2013: Yes. At 58 I've realized my full potential. It is to sacrifice my life for a pay check that keeps a roof over my head and food in the kitchen. All this so I can sleep the night and eat so that the next day I can go to work and continue sacrificing my life so others can go to Hawaii every year and drive fancy cars and have health care and retirement accounts.
    • Jan 19 2013: this sounds miserable
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      Jan 19 2013: Oh my goodness David....that doesn't sound like much fun! Have you thought about changing some of your circumstances.....OR.....changing your perception of circumstances?
      • Jan 20 2013: Good change can only be achieved by the powerful. The only change I can make will only make matters worse. Could I be happy as a street person? Maybe.
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          Jan 20 2013: David,
          Many of us are not "powerful", and we have made changes in our life. Is being a street person the only possibility you can imagine?
  • Dec 31 2012: The answer to that would be a big "NO". I feel tied up and I really don't know what I want to do with my life.

    Think I am Negative? I guess I am.
    • Dec 31 2012: When you feel really tied up and everyone does from time to time, sometimes for a long time. I have found that the best way to look at your situation is realistically and go with what you have. Look at the circumstances of your life as if you have been given some kind of quest where the point will be revealed if you try to live as well as you can. I don't mean to sound mushy because I know that sometimes the situation can be very hard, but at least this way you may be able to stop viewing yourself as negative, to realise that you have qualities.
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      Dec 31 2012: Mushfira and Gwer,
      I find that what I focus on expands, so if I focus on what I DO NOT have, that concept becomes bigger in my heart and mind.

      So, I agree with you Gwer Fly...look at the situation, and go with what we have...look at the circumstances of our lives, and maybe perceive with "new eyes".

      Another thing I find very helpful is gratitude. Look around and notice what we have to be grateful for. I am always grateful for food, water and shelter, which many people in our world do not have. I am grateful for the people in my life, and grateful for each and evey moment, because I believe that each moment offers opportunities.

      When we spend time and energy focusing on what we DO NOT have, we often miss the opportunity to recognize all that we DO HAVE.....what we focus on expands:>)

      Wishing you a New Year of GREAT POTENTIAL...the potential is there, waiting for recognition:>)
  • Dec 26 2012: So many mistakes on my last post I had to delete it. Well I just realized my potential when I started computers and I was really interested in perpetual energy from when I was 9 years old. I always wanted to make something out of nothing and I found out that our imagination does it everyday. But I wanted more to really satisfy my need to build something so elementary but yet so overlooked in every thought pattern. I knew I needed to wise up and stop estimating potentials so instead I looked toward more critical thinkers. It seemed very possible to create a device that could change the way all people use energy so I embraced change and allowed the possibility to formulate in my mind. How could I realize my potential before having the potential to realize. I keep asking these questions as if a professor was constantly being a critic. I realized my potential as soon as I realized we all are just basically victims of circumstance. Just because there is no actual perpetual energy doesn't mean the possibility does not exist but rather it just has had no chance to formulate in to a 3 dimensional object made of elemental material. Time will pass as human intelligence will find the technology and change the entire thought process even more so then Thomas made the light bulb. Still with 7 billion mistakes made everyday around the world I believe there will be an answer we can all depend on soon.
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    Dec 23 2012: I'm still trying to realize what my potential is. And every day brings surprises (and disappointments too).

    One may envision his/her potential in a career of some sort, but life may prepare a different mission in a form of an autistic child, for example.

    "You can spend all your time making money
    You can spend all your love making time" -- Eagles

    Love, money, time - pick one.
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      Dec 24 2012: No! Strike a balance. Love has no limits. The more you share the more you have.
      No one knows how much time we have on this earth. Make the most of every moment.
      Money, the more we have the more we can do and the more we can focus our time on what is important to us.

      Build resilience into your life by being prepared to take advantage of opportunity and bounce back from adversity. Life is continuously learning. Stop learning and you will never reach your potential.

      You cannot do it alone. Network! Build a team of people working for a common goal. My business depends on my helping others succeed and and our mutually benefiting from our success.

      Most people never reach their potential in a job. Create your own business and your own residual income. Leverage your time and money. A residual income, some call it a retirement income, will set you free to do what is important to you. Can you create a substancial residual income in 5 years? Yes, if you choose the right business model and work your business consistently.

      My business is about helping others living a quality life. More important, it is about helping our kids reach their potential in a world where everyone can live a quality life.
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        Dec 25 2012: Thanks, William. Inspiring words. I do believe that obstacles to our success are within us. Working on it :-).
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      Dec 24 2012: Dear Arkady,
      If the day brings disappointments, perhaps it is because you have certain expectations that are not being met? As my lovely, accepting, practical neighbor used to say before she died at age 92..."alter your mind".

      You are absolutely correct....life is what happens when we are making other plans...LOL:>)
      Go with the flow....find the balance. You don't have to "pick one"....love money or time. You can find the balance and the flow.....its' another cycle Arkady:>)
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        Dec 25 2012: Hi, Coleen. This is also a good advice, but it needs to be understood and applied correctly. Otherwise, we might get rid of expectations altogether, sit in front of the TV, drink beer and convince ourselves that we are happy and achieved our potential.

        What if the flow does not go where our passion is? What if there is no flow - just stagnation. What if instead of a flow we feel only Brownian motion, "The erratic random movement of microscopic particles in a fluid, as a result of continuous bombardment from molecules of the surrounding..."? Often, we have to create a flow or to make an effort to get into the one we like. Then, we can "go with the flow."
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          Dec 25 2012: Well yes, my dear one....it has to be understood and applied correctly:>)

          Not having expectations does not mean we are going to sit in front of the TV, drink beer and convince ourselves that we are happy and achieved our potential....unless that is our choice of course.

          To me, letting go of expectations means that I move toward a goal with the same passion, interest, curiosity and love in my heart and mind, AND I am open to the possibilities regarding an end result. Often times, people perform certain tasks, or behaviors, and EXPECT a certain outcome, which often does not manifest as planned.

          For example, we (humans) often do something we think is nice, for someone, and that person doesn't seem as appreciative as we EXPECT, so we get disappointed, and sometimes it diminishes our own feeling about the task or behavior. We may perceive that the "flow" is not going where our passion is sending it? It may feel like "stagnation" to us because the other person is not "flowing" like we expected?

          Yes.....we need to create our own "flow", and that is totally up to us as individuals. Many times in the life adventure, we experience the "flow" with others, sometimes we want a "flow" with others, and they do not share the same desire or passion as we have, so it feels like they are not "flowing" with us....that may feel like "stagnation" at times.

          The understanding and application is to keep ourselves "flowing" NO MATTER WHAT. My "flow" does NOT depend on anyone else....I have no expectations. I have desires, hopes, dreams, preferences, etc., and no expectations. My heart and mind are open to people and situations as they/we evolve.....make any sense?

          It is exactly what you insightfully say Arkady...so I know you already understand the concept...
          "we have to create a flow or to make an effort to get into the one we like. Then, we can "go with the flow."
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        Dec 27 2012: That is a great clarification.
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          Dec 27 2012: Thanks Arkady....works pretty good for me:>)

          So, to use your biking metaphor....

          We can start the journey with a certain plan, AND ALSO be ready for detours along the way. If we have an open heart and mind, the detours MAY contribute to the overall plan, IF we do not have certain expectations that are etched in stone.

          When folks have to take a detour in the life journey, often times, they struggle with the circumstances, resist, are so angry and frustrated because the "plan" was interupted (in their perception) they may miss possibilities and potential for moving forward, even if what is happening is not the plan as expected.

          When we go with the flow, adapt, are creative with the process and open to new possibilities, we are recognizing and using ALL of our potential:>)
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    Dec 22 2012: I realized it. i am great fan of harry potter series.For me that world is real for me. Today what i am just because of this series.I know that i can do everything if i want to do it. i have courage to stand against anyone. i dont fear from anything. this all which i have. and i know that if someone need my help i can make impossible things as possible.....
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    Gail .

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    Dec 22 2012: I have reached levels that I never dreamed were possible (in many areas). This being said, whenever I enhance myself, I see so many more potentials inviting me to follow them