Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How To Reach Your Potential

Yesterday I talked about my life purpose and how I wanted to reach my potential. But potential is such a vague word, it's really hard to quantify and really know when you have reached it. I certainly know when I am not reaching my potential. I know what that feels like. I think the real problem is that because we really have unlimited potential (which I will explain why in a second), it's a moving target we can never reach.

So how can we really reach our potential?

I think it starts by maximizing your time. When I waste time, I have a nagging feeling of regret that I wasn't productive. When I don't feel productive, I feel like I haven't reached my potential. And even when I maximize my time, I really could be more productive because I could always train people to do what I do and do more but at least when I maximize my time I don't try and steal time from other areas of my life to make up for it.

Wasted time can equal wasted potential.

The first step for me then is to figure out how to best use my time. To me time is like an investment. You want to invest your time in activities that allow you to have more free time down the road. You can always make more money but you can't make more time.

Time is more precious than money.

To figure out how I want to use my time, I made a weekly grid of how I wanted to use the time available each day. I blocked off time that I want to sleep, eat, work, have fun and take care of myself. Then I study how I use that time by recording what I actually do in a checklist.

Once I have the checklist, I fine tune it until I have it completely the way I want it. I then work on my efficiency. I start asking questions like how fast can I do the checklist? Do I have to do this? Can I have someone else take care of it for me?

Once you start to do this you will get stronger and  you'll start to figure out that reaching potential is a lot like weightlifting. The stronger you are, the more weight you can lift.

But the beauty of it is, that unlike weight lifting where you lift all of the weight, you can ask other people to help you lift.

Let me give you an example.

I think this website has A LOT of potential. It's got a great name, it's got a big idea behind it.

But, if I don't write on it, I waste it's potential. That's one reason I made it my thirty day challenge to write on it every day. This helps me move in the direction of getting closer to it's potential benefit to it's readers.

Even then, I could write more than one article a day to help people. I could do audio and video tutorials to make it even better help people. Once I was doing all I could on the site each day, you might think I have reached my potential.

But the reality is that I could train someone to help me. And they could duplicate what I did. And then I could add another and so on.

You might think that I have reached my potential then. But if I thought really hard, I could also figure out other ways to reach people. I could have what I wrote translated into other languages. I could set up workshops for people who might not have ever found me online and train people to do that.

So you can see, this is why I say that potential is unlimited. There are ways to increase it. But it starts with you and getting you moving in that direction. Take action and start realizing your potential.

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Michael Kuhn

Black Belt Project: Build Mental Strength