Why should I deem myself to be a chisel, when I could be the artist? J.C.F. von Schiller
The one thing that many of us have great difficulty in is really understanding our own potential. In the first place we cannot really identify our interests in life. Then we find it hard to really identify our strengths and even more painful to acknowledge our weakness. As a result more often than not we suffer from an inferiority complex or flaunt a superiority complex. As a result the real potential gets camouflaged in a mire of underutilization and misdirection. The overwhelming majority of us are guilty of under achieving and as a result we do not see ourselves as diamond that can sparkle but as lumps of coal.
If we want to really understand our true self better, we have to make an effort to be aware of our real self. The first step in this process is to be a good listener. This is not as easy as it sounds because more often than not we are busy refuting things that we hear but do not like. We need to pay close attention to our critics for they can give strong clues about areas of improvement. We must also be grateful to those who appreciate us for they are signaling potential in us that we may not fully comprehend or acknowledge. It is equally important to listen to our own inner voice that will prompt us about our strong feelings that will ultimately prove right. We may get a feeling that while we are strong in something, we may really not be having a long term interests in it and that we may get bored soon. This perhaps explains the numerous people who purse professions completely different from their basic and professional academic qualifications.
The second step demands honest appraisal of our abilities. We may have the ability to be multifaceted and would ideally prefer to juggle all our interests. However at some stage we may find that we have to eliminate some of our interests since we cannot devote the time and recourses to all our interests. This is tough because our heart craves for what we have strong likings for but the head rationalizes more objectively and we may have to take unpalatable decisions. By deferring and delaying our decisions on emotional grounds we may damage our own potential. The third step is to work on honing our skills to perfect them. Once we have eliminated what does not fit into our priority we will have to take proactive steps to hone our skill sets in the area that we have chosen for ourselves. This can involve many sacrifices and there will be many times when we are assailed by self doubts.
Overcoming self doubt and building up confidence will finally light up our path to success and triumph. We would have to endure pain, overcome obstacles, encounter failure and be resilient to critics if we have to eliminate our self doubts. Thereafter with hard work and through experience we slowly buildup our confidence and before we realize it, we who were tools in another’s hand suddenly have the tools in our own hands and we can carve our own niche in this world.
Remember: “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.” Erich Fromm
- Choose between learning 3 new card tricks or 3 new coin tricks. Go out and learn it. Find books or experts who can teach it. Believe that you have it in you to learn it.
- List out 3 tasks that you have never attempted before. E.g. gardening, cooking, teaching, referring, organizing, supervising, new styles of dancing, karaoke singing etc. Choose one of them and put a target date to mastering it.
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