I once worked with a guy who always complained. The plane “left without him” when he was running late. Or his colleague just “was in the right place at the right time” to get promoted. It was always someone else’s fault or someone else’s better luck. The whole world seemed to be conspiring against him, and there was no arguing with him about it.
I often thought that a simple attitude adjustment would have changed his life.
That guy might remind you of someone you know, or maybe you are that person. The reality is that we sometimes all are that guy. It is very easy to feel like a victim when things go wrong, people treat you badly, and you seem to get the raw end of every deal.
But you also know that you have untapped potential, and you think about that a lot. Your thoughts often begin with “if only.” If only that promotion would happen. If only your fortunes would turn around, then you could finally start realizing your dreams.
The trouble with this line of thinking it that it is completely backwards. After all, everyone has potential. But it is what you do with that potential that really matters in the end.
It is time to stop waiting for the stars to align for you. It is time to take action.
Want to know how to make the most of your potential? You must maximize your skills, abilities, and productivity. And you need to get to work on it — not tomorrow — but right now. Today.
I would never tell you that it’s easy to change a mindset. But, here are a few ways to start:
Decide what you want
You spend plenty of your time wishing and regretting, but this is not productive thinking. Have you ever given serious thought to what you want to achieve? This is critical to success. You must have a clear vision for your life. So get back to the one thing you wanted to do before your dreams became clouded over with doubt.
Set short-term goals
Fight your tendency to procrastinate with a strategy for how you will proceed. Once you establish your vision, break down the steps you must take to make it happen. Set a few reasonable goals that you can achieve right now to kickstart your momentum. Write them down to help you remember what you are working towards.
Constant complaining undercuts your potential. And a negative attitude not only hurts you, but it wears down all the people who would help you, given the chance. So take stock of the good in your life, and then enlist a good friend to guide you back when you wander down that familiar path of negativity (they will likely be honored to oblige).
Do you often blame other people or circumstances for your rotten luck? This irrational thinking gives you an easy out from owning your choices. Left unchecked, it will undermine your progress toward your goals. Remember: you are in charge of your life, not anyone else. Take responsibility for your good and bad decisions.
If you have been all talk and no action, you must prove to yourself that you can change and reach your goals. Make action a number-one priority. Take the entrance test for the graduate program, or create a business plan for the venture you have talked about for years. Do not let fear of the unknown (or anything else) hold you back.
It is up to you to make the most of the potential you have. When you start making yourself accountable to your goals, you will find that you have no time left to stew or complain.
There are no shortcuts to success. Making the most of your potential will require a serious attitude adjustment and hard work. But soon you will realize that you are finally moving towards that person you can be — and turning your life around in the process.
What advice can you share to help others maximize their potential?