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Realizing Your Potential: An Uncommon Journey

Updated on November 16, 2014
Photo by Maddie Welch
Photo by Maddie Welch

"Every artist was first an amateur." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wonder if the young lady in this photo was aware of the unlimited nature of her talent for creation. I also wonder if she’ll choose that talent for future development. I value that we all have individual journeys yet I know firsthand the difference between having talent, following a passion and being distracted away from it by our circumstances. Every day I see true brilliance languishing in daily routines totally disconnected from their passions.

In the late ‘80’s and ‘90’s I became aware of the incredible capacity of artists to alter one form blending it into another using various products and techniques that often took ages to learn. I was captured by the artistic transformation from human to animal features in this selfie by Maddie Welch. The metamorphosis created by design, shading, contouring and color surprised me. I don’t know Maddie but I know she isn’t a fawn. But when I first glanced at the picture I thought, “Photo shopped!” I had to look several times and though I’m not a techno type I was convinced this was the real deal. This was a person ingeniously made over into another dimension.

"We grow closer to our destiny when we grow closer to ourselves." B. Stuart Noll

Then there was the thought, “how does one even conjure up the idea to recreate themselves or others into another being?” Could this be the beginning of the next Diane von Furstenberg (Top Fashion Designer) or Rick Baker (Top Special Effects Make-up Artist)? In answering this question there came a moment of realization of something mysterious yet available to all of us to help us understand and achieve our wildest dreams. Our highest potential isn’t the same for everyone but, there is a method for everyone to acquire it. With a little help, patience and perseverance a resonant approach will surface for every one of us to be all that we can be.

The next questions are, “how does one know what approaches or methods are available, where to find them and how to use them?” The answers are part of the paradox of life. Though each of us has a unique journey here, not one of us can reach our primary aspiration alone. We were not born in a vacuum. We are part of a planetary people, global and local communities, and families and tribes living our lives together. And the last time I looked…we were all still connected, bound by the same gravity and rotating on the same axis. When we get that, we become more than we know.

Becoming Independent

Potential and the Pursuit of Happiness

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” has been a hallmark of American culture since the birth of our nation in the 18th century. Prominently mentioned in our Declaration of Independence as examples of “unalienable rights” bestowed upon us by our creator, these statements serve as goals and milestones for the “American Dream” and subsequently for the American Dreamer.

Most people I know are working daily to successfully navigate the areas of life that lead to a sense of achievement and joy, personally and professionally. Whether it’s in the area of career, relationships, health or financial matters, our quandary seems to be the same. How do I know if what I want or what I’m doing is right for me or will lead me to that “promised land” written about by our forefathers?

The obvious answer depends on how we define these terms which I believe are based on our previous conditioning and our perception of what is right or wrong. I’m copping out here because I’m leaving those definitions up to the reader, except for a frame of reference. Why? In real terms or metaphorically, my definitions would become irrelevant since it is our own individual viewpoints which govern the choices that shape our lives. Though parental conditioning and education play a significant role, in my mind experience is still, and always will be…the best teacher.

So how does someone discover their supreme longing? I think what’s most relevant is our recognition and understanding of our own perspectives in relationship to personal growth in the areas of life we deem important. In order to realize our full capacity we need to be the designers or our own experiences. In order for us to become the designers of all that we can be it’s imperative to know who we are. To really know who we are self examination is critical. If we accept that the real power to achieve our fullest life is not static, but dynamic, universal and limited only by the conditioned perspectives we accept, then our odds of contributing to our growth in the quest for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” increase dramatically.

Living an Undivided Life

Living an Undivided Life

As a committed encourager of people pursuing their dreams and living an authentic, undivided life1, I enjoy discussions with others about their dreams and passions because I believe dialogue is a key to discovery. Communicating our deepest desires and asking for help in achieving them works. Once we establish an intention we have a path to walk on. My recommendation is to walk the road toward your mountain top with someone who wants you to get there as much as you do. After all, life is not really about the destination, but the journey, right?

I am also an admirer of human beings I place in one of three categories; 1) Conscious beings aware of their potential and progressively working toward living it daily; 2) Those who are seeking their truth, honing and developing their skills regardless of current circumstances and 3) young people who may not know what they are capable of accomplishing even though they possess a natural affinity for a given skill, trade, craft or profession. What these groups of people have in common is they quite often remain open to consider other possibilities and perspectives.

1 As defined by Parker J. Palmer in his book “A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life”

What happens to us is not nearly as important in actualizing our true potential as what happens through us.

Transforming our abilities into tangible outcomes is no easy task, but it is possible; probable even, if one is aware that reaching ones zenith is a process. What happens to us is not nearly as important in actualizing our true potential as what happens through us. We are the vessel, the vehicle of choice, through which our contributions to mankind occur. It’s my view that we already possess, at the core of our being, everything we need to uncover and achieve our hidden genius. There are so many ways to access our inherent possibilities that choosing a direction is often the most difficult. So, I’ve put together a few favorites in the list below with a brief explanation. Please remember that success, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s okay to do a little window shopping for what feels right for you. After all, you will live with the consequences of your decisions. Enjoy!

1. Connection to Source Energy

No story about human potential would be complete or even initiated without a connection to the source of its being. Developing a connection that already exists as a result of our birth into this form is not the hard part, but continual alignment with it can be demanding yet is integral to our tapping into our power. We may not be able to define this energetic force to the satisfaction of everyone but there is no denying it’s there.

What seems to be an issue for most of us is creating a dialogue or exchange that assists us in thinking, feeling, living and being connected to it. How we decide to use the energy that exists in the universe and our awareness of our connection to it seems to me to be more important than what we call it. Tapping into the energy of life is simple, it just takes practice. Not once a week or once in a while, but every day…every day. This energy and our connection to it is life. Get to know it, practice it, and live it. If you don’t know how, ask. It may be the most important move you ever make.

2. Clarity

Gaining clarity is a process. Clarity is a prime requisite in visualizing an outcome. Energy follows focus. If we are unsure about our destination, reaching it will be more difficult. There are people who seem to be born knowing what they want, but my experience is that for most of us clarity requires work. Clarity is another muscle of our being that we must exercise so, take a partner and have some fun in the land of discovery.


3. Gratitude

Any master gardener worth their weight in salt will testify there is no greater activity for the success of a fruitful harvest than proper soil preparation and management. Introducing and maintaining the appropriate biological environment is critical in the growth and development of any garden, period. Without proper nourishment, biological interaction and attention, even the most precious seed will fail in its attempt to reach its full capability at harvest.

This metaphor is even more accurate when describing the value of appreciation and thankfulness. Some measure of success can be accomplished on one’s own authority and will. But true success, the kind that permeates life itself can only be achieved in collaboration with others. We demonstrate great-fullness when we allow the energy associated with the success we have to overflow, amplify and touch other people, places and things. The outpouring of gratitude is inextricably connected to source energy through giving and receiving love. I have never witnessed a failure in this law that governs living out our highest objective.

Mentor and Telemachus
Mentor and Telemachus | Source

4. Review Your Intention and Desire

We’ve all heard that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” What’s missing from this cliché is the role desire (or lack of it) plays in the final outcome. Intention without a complimentary desire to fulfill it becomes that road to purgatory. When properly intended and backed by the kind of relentless desire to achieve the goal, there is no wall that can stand against the pursuit of that goal. An intention to accomplish a task must be set, and then sealed with talent, focused and directed action, and the allocation of appropriate resources to finish what one intends to do. This too, is difficult to maintain alone and is good reason to partner with a voice of experience.

This voice I’m referring to is one who continually and strategically reminds us of our stated intentions and desires without judgment and prompts us to stay aligned with our energy and purpose. Granted, this almost always tests our courage, discipline and trust. The relationship with this voice requires enormous dedication and commitment. This voice also listens with the objective of providing support during times of great external and internal stress becoming the bridge over the chasm between our greatest intentions, heartfelt desires and human frailties. All truly heroic endeavors are achieved by teaming up with this voice even if the original endeavor is an individual event. The dynamic nature of intentions and desires require teamwork, so get to know this voice to build the best team you can, it is certainly worth the effort. Who is this voice? It is your inner teacher. A relationship with it is invaluable.


5. Encouragement and Self Examination

The never ending crusade to our zenith is an adventurous exploration into the unknown fraught with mystery and intrigue, that is, if we’re really trying. It is so easy to settle for less, even though less is not necessarily what we are after. We also find it easier to rationalize our choices, at least in the short term until we come to grips with the consequences of our decisions. One incredibly arduous task is the process of self examination. No one knows us better than we do and usually, no one is more critical.

Dedicated self examination has benefits beyond description. Great changes can be realized by examining our own motives, authenticity and integrity. As a matter of fact, no real change is made until we do. But reaching our ultimate destiny requires an approach that is timely, honest and loving. In the words of the writer Katherine Mansfield, “I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.”

Thank you Maddie, for being who you are and inspiring me to be more of who I am!!

It is my sincere desire that the inspiration of one young lady's photograph portraying beauty, talent and transcendence becomes food for thought about your own perspective of change and growth. It has for me and I am thrilled to have received the benefits of her artistic declaration. I hope that one day her Moirai is revealed to her and that she may know the impact of her gifts on herself, her family and her friends! May she also experience and express the profound effect of her gentle whisper and the wake of her butterfly’s wings on all of mankind!

Peace always reigns with love in our hearts!

Who am I and why am I here?

Did this hub cause you to reflect on or consider your potential?

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    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      4 years ago from Asheville NC

      Theresa and Paula, here's the short answer. I don't know where I've been, except to say that I have been struggling with knowing where I was headed in the late fall of my life. So, I went on a spiritual field trip. Lo and behold I return to a familiar place.

      I've been initiated into the Mankind Project and made my decisions for my headings for 2015. Now we'll wee if the navigation equipment is as good as I think it is. Just needed an attitude adjustment.

      I'm happy to return to the "healthy balance" of living a life that matters. December 28 2014 will be my tenth year in it's time to walk out of my shell on the the white sands of the beach and enjoy some of the metaphoric sunshine! I just love this stuff!

      OK , so the answer not so short. Just know that I'm happy to be back in touch with people who are passionate about life. It doesn't have to be in your face passion, just the kind the helps us glide into a little bit of bliss. Yahooooooooooey! Sorry, got carried away on a little wave while I was staring at the sun! LOL.

      Anyway, I'' stay in touch through our hubs and for Theresa and many blessings to you and may this holiday season be a joyous one for you and your families.

      As Esther Hicks would say..."There is great love for you here!"

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Bruce - Excellent and well developed essay. Important and good reminders for me, not to be so busy in doing and meeting deadlines that I do not take time for thinking, observing, pondering, developing my inner soul and spirit.

      I am with Paula, "Where have you been (if we may ask)? Although I have been on HP very intermittently myself for quite some time now (very busy at the university and in completing two book projects , one for history and one for poetry). My father and sister died a couple of years ago, and I have watched myself shift from writing history/social issue based hubs to an awful lot of poetry. A surprising development as I turned 60, but very fulfilling and leading to a book I had never dreamed of writing or publishing. But I think the poetic/artistic side was always inside of me, just largely unexpressed. :)

      I hope all is well with you and your family. Merry Christmas. Blessings. Theresa

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      4 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi Paula!

      I've been here, just doing a little more working at my 9-5...or should I say 4am to 12:30.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      4 years ago from Asheville NC

      I'm so happy for you Bill! I've been watching from afar, but of you! You're representing the genre well!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bruce! Where the hay have you been? Where ever it was, you've certainly busted in with a powerful article. This is deep and should hold special meaning for your readers...

      That's why great writers are appreciated. You make us go within and really take a long, hard look.

      Until this is accomplished, most will just wander in circles going nowhere, doing nothing. It doesn't get any sadder than that.

      Thanks Bruce for the gracious words of wisdom.

      Wishing you & yours a Happy Thanksgiving!...Peace, Paula UP+++ pinned & tweeted.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I saw this last night but was too tired to comment. Now I'm wide awake, and this is a wonderful read. Realizing my potential isn't my problem. Reaching it seems to cause me endless hours of unrest. :) All truths here, and nothing but the truth. Good to see you writing here again, my friend.


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