A friend invited me for a quick coffee chat the other day. He was trying to get a bit of insight into how he can plan for his next move forward. He had just recently graduated from university. He was a confident, well groomed and dynamic young man, whom I was guessing, aspiring to be a speaker.
In the course of our conversation, he mentioned a phrase that got me intrigued. He said something along the lines of, “I’ve got nothing much to lose as I have a lot of time in my hands.” I stopped him in his tracks, and asked. “Do you really have nothing much to lose?”
The Illusion Of Time
You will agree with me, that when you once looked at life from the perspectives of a 20 year old, it was filled with rainbow colored mountains. You told yourself, that there is so much to explore, so many paths to journey on and so many mountains to climb. The vast amount of options in achieving success, seemed enthralling.
And while we were looking at all those options, we silently muttered to ourselves, “I will find the time to do all that.” Yet, years passed, and suddenly we find ourselves at the age of 30 and wondered why we have still not conquered even a single peak of those rainbow mountains.
The elusive nature of time happened. It crept up on us and overtook us before we even realized it. The head start it gave us, was the grand vision of possible achievements.
So I gave my young friend a few pointers. Pointers that I learned, from my own abysmal experiences. And I am sure it resonates with you too.
Potential Is Bull
I grew up with a realization that I was filled with potential. People around me were always citing how talented I was. People told me that I had the talent to sing, draw, speak, lead and even do fly if I wanted to.
Of course, it dawned on me also that they were right. I did all the above with a high degree of competency. In fact, one avenue in which I found myself to be absolutely competent in, was in the area of public speaking. I was so good that I knew that one day I will make a career out of it. And this realization came about at the age of 16.
20 years on, I am still not a speaker. What happened?
I rested on my potential. Cause I thought that my potential will roll me up the gradients in life.
Yet, physics have proven that the largest amount of potential is stored when a ball rests on top of a slope. But no amount of energy can be released if that ball does not start rolling down.
Thus this analogy proved decisively that I was like that ball, resting on top of the slope. Filled with vast amount of potential. Yet nothing happened, cause I did not bother moving.
Do Not Believe In Your Own Hype
“Quality sells itself. No hype needed.”
― Brandi L. Bates, Red Flags
If you thought that not working on your potential is bad, try believing your own hype. That is even worse. I’ve always wondered as to why people, who were less talented than me, were achieving things way much faster.
People were always telling me, how I was so much better than those they knew. And yet, these people whom I deemed less capable, were earning bucks for their various attempts at making it in life.
The conundrum then dawned on me that I was self absorbed in my delusional self hype. People were right. I was more capable. And that was the problem. Believing in my hype made me think that there will be a “perfect time” when my abilities will be showcased to the world. I was always waiting for the “perfect moments”. It never arrived.
You Have Everything To Lose
It may seem ridiculous to tell this to a young guy. To make him feel alarmed at the prospects he might lose out on.
And I say this with the conviction that the landscapes of self promotion avenues have changed rapidly. These days, even a 7 year old with enough singing potential, can succeed, if he/she manages to get the needed leverage. Be it via social media or traditional media exposure. The little child has so much more time compared to you, yet he/she is banking on it now. Not tomorrow or next year.
I feel that if we are not working fast and hard enough these days, we have everything to lose. The 2 business capitals that may seem exclusive to us, time and potential, will become obsolete and useless, by the time we feel we ought to work on it.
So, take my word for it. You have so much to lose.