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Advice for People Who Want to Achieve their Potential

The best problem to solve is “what is my problem?”

The best question to ask is “what is my question?”

Once you have found your problem you can solve it and once you have found your question you can answer it.

If you’re not sure what your problem is and what your question is you need to get in touch with what hurts you and what puzzles you.  Either run at your life from the emotional side — what do I long for?  what sickens me?  what tears me up? — or from the cognitive side — what doesn’t make sense?  what puzzles me?  what is confusing?  (At the end of the day these two sides meet in the middle).   Or look to the past for what aspects of the past jazz you.    The Greeks had some good questions — “What do I need to do to be happy?”  “What is happiness?”  “What is the ideal constitution for a state?”   If those questions wake you up then you are a bit Greek, and a bit ancient, which is fine.

Old books of magic, poems, and scriptures can all speak to you.  Once they speak to you they become new books of magic, poems,and scriptures and you claim their puzzles, questions, and mysteries for your own.  They now belong to you and you will want to solve them.  Of course if you dont’ care about them, and dont’ want to solve them, they don’t belong to you.  That’s fine.  Just don’t pretend to yourself that you care about things that you don’t, because if you don’t know what you care about you will never know when you’re happy.

Once you have come up with some good questions and good prolbmes then try to answer them and live accordingly.  When you pose hard questions to yourself you will test your potential. As long as the questions and problems that you respond to are easy, you will not know what your potential is.

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6 thoughts on “Advice for People Who Want to Achieve their Potential

  1. N.S. Palmer says:

    Well said. I especially liked the “meet in the middle part,” because most people seem to think there’s a clear distinction between logic and feeling. There isn’t.

    For all the obvious reasons, I’m not a fan of TV evangelists. But Rev. Robert Schuller had a great line about striving to reach your potential: “The only shame is low aim.” If we never fail, we’re aiming too low.

    • I agree — a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a meaningful life (never mind a heaven) for? The chapter ironically titled “A for Effort” in Bel Kaufman’s Up the Down Staircase is almost a paean to frustration: “Not to lower my sights, not to compromise, to accept the ‘challenge,’ to keep fighting, to find rewards even in failure because failure is due to aiming too high. . . .”

  2. I needed this today. I thought I solved my problem. Surprise! The problems do not stop, I hope to be better equipped as I go older the handle them.
    I didn’t know questions change either.
    On the bright side, life would be so boring without challenges.

    -Lisa

    • wow – another problem! Posting from my phone and thinking it looked ok! Solution: post from PC (lol)
      Correction:
      I needed this today. I thought I solved most of my problems. Surprise! The problems do not stop, I hope to be better equipped as I get older to handle them more efficiently.
      I didn’t know questions change either, another surprise!
      On the bright side, life would be so boring without challenges.

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