Capacity vs. Potential
Have you ever heard someone say that you have a lot of potential? On the surface, that could sound like a compliment, but when you really start to think about it, what does that say about your current level of performance? If you have a lot of potential, does it mean that maybe someday you'll live up to it, but it's not happening now?
Maybe as a young person that's a great thing to recognize. After all, what do young people have to compare anything in their lives to? They haven't had time to develop too much personal experience.
But for those of us who have been around for a while, what are we waiting for? If we're still seeing ourselves in the eyes of potential, when might we choose to start living it?
That's what I see as the distinction between potential and capacity. If I've got a 12 oz. cup of coffee, that cup's capacity is 12 ounces. That's the maximum amount it can hold. If the cup is 100% full, it's (figuratively) living its capacity.
How many of us can say that we are living our capacity? Potential is somewhere off in the future. But is the future really sure? All we really have is today. So if we're living in someday, we're living in potential.
I've spent a good portion of my life in love with the potential - in personal relationships, business relationships, career opportunities - but have only recently begun to see that that isn't always the reality. The reality is right here, right now, today - the capacity.
I choose to live my life each and every day at 100% capacity, whether that's a 12-ounce cup or a gallon jug. I think as we grow and learn and evolve in our thinking and our ways of being, we move from the 12-ounce cup to the 20-ounce cup to the 32-ounce cup and eventually, wherever our capacity takes us. But it's not an immediate jump from one to the other. That's where we might get hung up.
"But he's doing more than I am." "She's smarter than I am." Comparing the size of our cup to another's can have us focusing backward instead of on the reality of the present.
Maybe the goal should be for each of us to examine our container (whether it's 4 ounces, or 12 ounces or 10 gallons) and determine whether we're living at full capacity. What is your 100%? If we can all figure out first what that 100% is and feels like, and then figure out how to give that - or just to be aware of how much of the percentage we're comfortable giving - we can find that place where we know we're doing our best.
Isn't that what excellence is all about? Doing our best and being happy with the outcome?