“There ought to be something special about the boundaries of the Universe and what can be more special than that there is no boundary?
And there should be no boundary to human endeavor. We are all different, however bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at.”
– Dr. Stephen Hawking
I first came across this wonderful quote above from “A Theory of Everything“, an incredibly inspiring, beautifully made, Oscar-winning movie based on the life of the late great Dr. Stephen Hawking.
Soon after, I learned that it was an excerpt from his groundbreaking book “A Brief History of Time “, which now has sold 100 million copies worldwide. I simply can not say enough great things about it and it has become one of my all-time favorites.
If you have yet to check it out, I urge you to do so. Not only is it a compelling story about Dr. Hawking’s brilliant mind, but it also offers us a glimpse of one remarkable example of the unbounded potential of the human spirit and capabilities.
Despite having been told that he had only 2 years to live when he was first diagnosed at 21 with a Motor Neuron Disease, Dr. Hawking defied all odds that were set against him.
For those who are not familiar with this disease referred to as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gherig’s disease, it’s a neurodegenerative disease that affects the cells which control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, swallowing, and general movement of the body.
Though most of us can only imagine how it would be like to live a life riddled with physical disabilities, Dr. Hawking went on to live a spectacular life far beyond what everyone – including himself – had expected. While he passed away at 76 years old, he left quite the legacy behind him for many generations to come.
Though not all of us have Dr. Hawking’s vast intelligence, we certainly can all adopt his sheer tenacity in refusing to be defined by limitations.
Read More: Breaking Through Our Limitations
Numerous scientific research on the subject of the human potential state that we all have much more potential power and ability than we are currently using.
Deep down, I think we all know or at least suspect, at one point or another, that we are much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
Think back of moments in your own life where you shattered your (and/or others’) beliefs when you accomplished something that you previously thought you were not able to do.
For me, one of these moments happened back during my senior year of college. I had taken an honor thesis class where the entire class was graded in a series of research papers which lead up to a final thesis paper at the end of the semester.
The class was rigorous and our brilliant and “crazy” professor who graduated second in his class at Brown University (the valedictorian later went on to become one of the US Supreme Court Justices) was a notoriously difficult grader.
Let’s put it this way, the class had started with 11 students and by the time our daunting second assignment came around, the number of students had dwindled to 5.
The assignment was to write a balanced ‘argument’ on ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ and we knew that just getting this paper done – let alone getting a good grade – won’t be a walk in the park.
Long story short, after spending many late nights (and a whole lot of caffeine) at the library, I received the only A given for that assignment.
What was so significant about that particular grade, however, was not the grade itself but rather, the note my professor scribbled along with the grade.
“It’s always nice to see when one rises up to their potential.” he wrote.
To this day, that simple yet touching comment remains one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
Now, whenever I find myself doubting my own capabilities, I fondly think of that scribble. It somehow never fails to help me to set aside the negative chatter in my head telling me that I don’t have what it takes to accomplish whatever it is I’ve set my eyes on.
Over the years, I’ve come to truly understand that nothing holds us back more than the limitations we have put on ourselves.
As mentioned prior, we’re all so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Yet even with the realization & acknowledgment of our potential, tapping into it can often prove to be difficult.
With that, here are 3 things you can do that may just help in harnessing your own vast & powerful potential:
1. Learn to Trust Your Intuition
Every single one of us was born with an intuition. However, our ability to listen and trust our inner voice depends on how much faith we have in it.
Our relationship with our intuition can be quite magical as it can help us to develop our inner strength and potential – but I find that this is only possible when we choose to take the time to cultivate it properly.
I find that the biggest barrier most of us have when it comes to trusting our intuition is our ego. Unlike our intuition which acts as an inner compass, guiding us on our journey towards living a life that is true to ourselves, our ego seeks to keep us down and fights to suppress the belief in our own greatness.
Our ego is that pesky and persistent voice in our head that we are not enough – strong enough, smart enough, and so forth. In order to allow ourselves to step up to our full potential, we must learn to ignore our ego and choose to trust our gut instead.
Through activities such as meditation, take the time each day to quiet the mind chatter to turn to what your inner voice is telling you. This ability to communicate with your intuition will prove to be extremely useful during moments where you most need guidance and support.
2. Cultivate Self-Discipline
It’s tempting to make a wish or to simply wave a magic wand and instantly be granted access to our untapped strength and capabilities – but the truth is that it requires daily commitment and hard work.
In order to achieve our life’s ultimate goals, we would need to take consistent action and work towards our goals on a daily basis. As Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.“
Cultivating a strong sense of self-discipline is crucial in unlocking our potential.
However, if you are finding that you are not naturally inclined to discipline, you can certainly seek the help of experts. One of the most effective ways to build self-discipline is to incorporate physical activities on a regular basis.
As an example, you may join a gym or a fitness class and hire a personal trainer who will assist in ensuring that you are consistent in your efforts to achieve your physical and health goals.
If you are not a fan of the gym, why not take up a martial arts class? Aside from providing its practitioners with an arsenal of self-defense moves, martial arts are also renowned for their effectiveness in cultivating self-control and self-discipline.
Head on over to BookMartialArts.com if you would like to check out awesome martial arts training camps spread across the globe.
Practice makes perfect and with repetition, anything you invest time on soon becomes second nature. Once you master that particular skill, you can direct your self-discipline to other areas of your life both professional and personal.
3. Surround Yourself with Great People
Chances are, you probably have come across Jim Rohn’s well-known idea that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with“.
As the quote suggests, I personally have found that who we choose to surround ourselves with most, indeed plays an integral role in shaping who we are.
Therefore, in order to successfully harness our own potential, we need to associate ourselves with people who inspire us, who challenge us to rise higher – those who believe in the greatness within us, especially during times when we don’t see it for ourselves.
To be clear, being selective as to who we spend our time with does not automatically mean that we are arrogant or think of ourselves as “better”. It simply means that we acknowledge that who we surround ourselves with has a great influence on how the course of our lives will unravel.
In order to push ourselves to become who we are truly meant to become, it’s crucial to be aware not to waste our valuable time with those who are not adding value to our growth & progress.
I believe that each and every one of us is gifted, talented, and capable of greatness. However, unlocking our deepest potential must begin with our willingness to acknowledge our own greatness.
More importantly, we must ensure that we invest the necessary time and effort to live up to our potential and become the best version of ourselves.
We simply must not come to the end of our journey with our “music” still trapped inside us. So make the most of each and every day to step closer to creating the most exhilarating life imaginable.
Choose to keep growing, to face your fears, and inevitably, like Dr. Hawking, we too will live a life far beyond what we have initially thought possible for ourselves. Now go out there and make it happen!