Have you ever wondered about your true potential? Some cultures perceive your potential to be based on your birth circumstances. Those born into wealth may be at an advantage as they have access to the resources to enable the realization of their perceived potential. However, money is just an enabler. Lack of money does not indicate lack of potential.
I came from humble beginnings and as a child, I believed that I was on this earth to do something amazing. I tried my hand at many things; sport, music, singing, dancing, art, and writing. I believed in myself and dreamed big dreams.
At the age of 16, I fell pregnant. According to society at that time this meant that I had ruined my potential. Teenage pregnancy was a shameful thing in 1991 so I was sent to a house run by the Catholic church to hide my pregnancy. It was expected that I would place my son for adoption allowing me to regain the potential that I had so foolishly squandered.
My world in those dark days stretched only to the edge of the bubble that held my family, friends and those in the small town in which I lived. I quickly learned that my big dreams were beyond me and I was limited by these boundaries.
Even though I was confined to living within these boundaries, I decided to take a stand by refusing to place my son for adoption. Determined to prove that I still had potential, I educated myself and started a career as a software engineer. My career blossomed, and I climbed the corporate ladder always setting goals that were slightly beyond the limits I had been confined to.
We are presented with so many opportunities in life. Every failure is just another step closer to success. Every success, another leap in the direction of the realization of our true potential. At least that is what I had believed until my life was changed overnight following a minor surgery. A medical device had been implanted to treat a mild condition. This device left me in constant pain.
Whereas it was not a life or death situation, the implant was permanent and so I was destined to live my life in pain. Finding myself in such a life-altered position, I questioned every decision that lead to that faithful day. Should I have done something differently? All the why’s and what-ifs rushed through my mind as I frantically tried to find a way to escape the pain. For the first time in my life, I actually believed my potential had been ruined.
After a year and a half of suffering, I found a surgeon willing to remove the offending device. I knew that removal would result in a diminished quality of life and there was a 50% chance that my daily pain would continue. Thankfully, my pain came to an end and I was given a second chance at life.
When you get a second chance, you have the benefit of hindsight. Looking back upon my life, I could see that my goals were limited by what I had been conditioned to believe. I had chosen to set goals that were close to my existing boundaries. When exploring how I had achieved my goals, I realized that my time was my potential. Each of my achievements was an accumulation of many small increments of time dedicated to the achievement of that goal.
Doctors expected that I would never recover from the surgery, but I chose not to be limited by that belief. I made a list of all the aspects of my life, my mind and my body that could impact my recovery and dedicated each moment of my days to doing something that would contribute to my potential healing. I was astounded when, after just eighteen months, I had fully rehabilitated, and was stronger and healthier than ever before. By choosing how to spend my time, I had chosen to realize my full potential for healing.
This simple change in perspective can change your life. If you want to see your potential, look at how you are spending your time. Your potential is contained in the moments that make up your days. You can choose to participate in the betterment of humanity, breaking taboos and empowering others to achieve their dreams or you can choose to be a spectator in this life as your time ticks by. Don’t wait for a life-altering situation to propel you to make the choice. The time is always now and your potential lives within each moment. Dare to dream big limitless dreams and use your moments wisely to ensure the accumulation of your time will lead you to fulfilling your true potential.
Originally published at medium.com