Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to actualise your potential

Ideal time to commence actualising one's potential (i.e identifying and converting your invisible potential into a talent) is when a student is in 8th class.

At this age, the landscape is open and unlimited. At this age the slate is clean with no baggage and therefore  is open to take any view. At this age, a student has lots of energy and curiosity to question the established tradition and even take a course that is uncharted, if it is needed. But the student is unable to do so because he has several disempowering beliefs that prevent him in actualising his potential.

For example, a student assumes that the most important step in actualising one's potential is choosing the 'right ideal discipline' (science, commerce or arts) after 10th class. This notion is unrealistic and imaginary. Finding one's 'right ideal potential' is not practical because researchers have found that one cannot predict one's potential early in life.  Even sportsmen, who are forced to start early in life, do not show 'extraordinary potential' at an early age. On the contrary, they have a small difference of 'above-average' abilities visavis other students of comparable age.

However, what distinguishes the successful from the rest is the way they spot and capitalise on their unfolding potential ! Researchers have found out that potential unfolds over a long time. It is not a one-shot method. It is a long duration process. The student must therefore possess the necessary skills to watch this invisible process of unfolding of their potential and smartly utilise this understanding for their own benefit. 

Specifically, converting the unfolding potential into a talent requires three foundation skills to be built in a student at early age: ( If you fail to develop these three skills, three possible scenarios emerge. Also read about them)

Foundation skill 1. Regulate his/her Self:  Because future can never be predicted, this foundation skill will help a student to become adapt and flexible to the opportunities that come his way. By knowing the functioning of his emotions, stress points, and willpower, the student learns to regulate his Self ( not control his Self). He also understand his strengths and vulnerabilities. This provides a 'stable and confident mental state' that is necessary to guide one's actions amidst the various distractions. 

Foundation skill 2. Chose a potential area in academic area to focus: The second foundation skill required to actualise one's potential is the skill to chose a potential area to focus.  Most of the students possess an average IQ of about 110-130. Einstein had an IQ of 160. To use his available IQ tactfully, a student has to focus on few areas of strength to gain in-depth knowledge in few areas that is required later to sustain excellence later in the life. He has to utilise his academic life productively to gain the most from his long academic life. 

Foundation skill 3. Understand and exploit interdependence of skill markets, people, knowledge and domains to deepen his academic skill : Because the world is getting more and more interconnected, a student has to understand these interconnections to find opportunities ( or negotiate bottlenecks) to actualise his potential. For instance, by understanding these interconnections, a student can use interdependence of people to gain more knowledge of a specific subject, say a language like French, by joining learning community of 'French-learning' groups. Or use interconnections between domains to learn English language to develop his 'right brain' which is as useful as his 'left brain' that is being developed with the subjects like physics and maths. Or use interdependence of markets, to monetise his skill of 'teaching' through internet.

On the other hand, if a student fails to understand this chaotic interconnected environment, he suffers on both counts. Not only he misses the opportunities, but like a man who is unable to make sense of what is happening around him, he is paralysed into inaction and waits for others to guide him. We feel he lacks initiative; but what he lacks is the ability to make sense of this chaotic interconnected environment ! 

Once the foundation is properly built, a student will identify and realise his fullest potential even at a late age!

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