What could you do if you managed to unlock your full potential, or even just a fraction of it?
The only way to know for sure is to try and find out...
We’ve all heard some (more likely many) variations of the “if humans could use 100% of the brain” hypothesis, and there are no shortage of quacks offering to help you “unlock your full potential”. The thing is, we already use 100% of our brains, while the idea of unlocking your full potential is so loaded with questions and contradictions as to barely be worth discussing.
- What exactly does someone at their full potential look like?
- Is it even possible to unlock your full potential in every conceivable way?
- And if not, does improving in specific areas count towards some kind of overall score?
You may be starting to think that you were lured here under false pretenses…
That us folks at FocusMe don’t even really believe it’s possible for you to unlock your full potential.
You should listen to your gut more often, it knows its stuff.
Believe it or not, for the most part, so do we.
And in our experience, when people set their minds on hard-to-define goals and godly ambitions, they miss the real opportunity.
Instead of trying to unlock your full potential, why not just focus on unlocking as much of it as possible?
Rather than aspiring to be the best you that you can be, why not just try to be a little bit better every day?
In short, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Here are a few good places to start:
Focus on what you can do rather than what you can't
This is one of the most powerful shifts in mindset that you will ever make.
It’s also a super simple concept to understand, even if it is a little trickier to put into practice.
That’s because it’s all too easy to find reasons why things are impossible, or at least not available to us right now.
Worse yet, these myriad reasons also form the perfect excuse – cover for us to hide behind as we wallow in mediocrity.
It’s also natural for us as human beings to compare ourselves to others. In fact, making comparisons is part of what makes us human and is often a good thing.
Except when it’s not, and that happens a lot.
So, instead of spending the extremely valuable time you have (also known as your life) making excuses and comparisons, why not start focusing on things you CAN DO.
Start today: What one small thing can you do before you go to sleep tonight that will improve your overall wellbeing? Maybe it’s half an hour of exercise, or finally finding the time to video call that important yet almost estranged person in your life?
Then imagine what you can do this week, this month, this year or even in a decade or two if you really manage to adopt this attitude.
It really is that simple.
Become a master goal setter
Goals are tricky things. We tend to think of any kind of goal setting as a positive, yet not goals are created equal and some can even be detrimental to your progress.
We laid out our ideas on this and how you can set achievable goals that truly enrich your life in our article on New Year’s Resolutions vs Goals, but the long and short of it is that setting airy, ill-defined goals that amount to little more than daydreaming is going to take you directly to the Square Root Of Nowhere, which is right down the road from The Sum Total Of Nothingville.
Instead, we suggest following our patented (maybe one day) and extremely simple three-step formula for setting goals that actually lead to successful outcomes and a better life for you, the setter:
1) Identify your true needs
2) Figure out what meeting them would look like
3) Employ micro-goals to guide you along the way
Like every other item on this list, it’s not rocket science – although it will take time, practice and probably a few failed attempts to truly reap the benefits.
Get out of your comfort zone more often
Being the thoughtful and well-read person that you are, you’re almost certainly thinking right about now that this is the kind of advice that wins people Darwin Awards, and there may well be a grain of truth in that.
But you know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
And no, we’re not talking about free soloing El Capitan, joining a cult or becoming a handler of venomous animals, although if any of those things is what you’ve always dreamed of doing, who are we to stand in your way?
Courting death and becoming a menace to society and/or the natural world aside, trying new things and approaching your discomfort head on is a good thing.
You’ll never meet that special someone if you don’t actually put yourself into social situations and exchange words with flesh and blood people, or at very least switch from Tinder to a real dating app.
Everybody and everything starts from scratch, meaning that doing so should be the least intimidating thing in the world.
And as for finding your life’s purpose (or even something worth doing on a Saturday night), if you don’t go out and explore the world in all it’s depravity and wonder then why bother wondering why it seems to have nothing for you?
Don't be an island
Of all the things that may or may not have contributed to humanity becoming by far and away the dominant species on planet Earth, one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Hint: it’s not apposable thumbs, nor the mastery of fire, learning to use tools or our evolution into a bipedal species. Yes, you guess it! Our greatest strength and most valuable asset is our ability to communicate and thus cooperate on an unprecedented scale.
We’ve all heard the cliche that cliches are cliches for a reason, and one of the sayings that makes this true is that old gem no man is an island.
More accurately, and in line with 21st-century norms regarding language and equality, we might say that no person is an island (and everybody is a person).
In other words, don’t try to go it alone when there are a whole bunch of other people out there who can and are standing by to help.
You might not know them yet, but they exist and finding them should be high up on your priority list.
After all, it may not be possible to truly unlock your full potential, but when we work together doing so simply isn’t necessary.
Nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything in your life and in existence depends on other things.
Nothing functions without input and no single thing has meaning without relativity to other things.
If that’s too philosophical for you, think healthy body – healthy mind or a team is only as strong as its weakest link, etc.
The point is that it’s nigh on impossible to optimize just a single area of your life.
If you want to improve your memory, training your brain won’t get you there by itself. You’ll need sufficient sleep, good nutrition and low stress levels as well. If you want to create a successful business you’ll need more than just some startup capital and a few Richard Branson books. You’ll need stamina, discipline, leadership skills and the right support structures in your personal life.
A good example of how this works is the 10 000 hour rule (actually a myth), which has been called “the magic number of greatness”. It sounds logical enough that with enough practice you can master anything, and it’s undoubtedly true that practice and repetition help, but it turns out that people who start as generalists tend to match or even outperform those who specialize from a young age. This rings true from professional sports and the arts to academics and business.
In other words, it’s all about getting a balanced set of inputs and ensuring that you nurture body, mind and spirit. Who would have guessed right?
Make technology work for you, not against you
Technology plays an outsized role in humanity’s attempt to reach our full potential.
It already allows us to do things that our ancestors could not have imagined, and if we are to outlive our solar system and solve some of our more immediate existential crises we are going to need a lot more of it.
Yet in many cases, the hours of manual labor that our technology saves us from just end up in the hands of social media platforms.
For every useful app there is another that is trying to steal your time and attention.
How? It’s simple, the app employs powerful code that forces you to stay within the digital boundaries you set for yourself.