Whether or not you reach or achieve your highest potential is in your own hands.
Sure, your circumstances define some boundaries and how we go about achieving, but you determine what you actually achieve or do with the potential you were given.
You are born with genes that dictate the tendencies, abilities and sensitivities you inherit.
Your genes and the conditions of your birth outline the potential of what you can achieve in life.
The wildcard is your free will.
It defies predictability.
Carl Jung was not the first, but perhaps the most famous and influential scholar in recent history to explore the wisdom handed down to us from the ancient astrologers. Jung recognized the archetypal symbolism used by the astrologers as a way to describe the different dimensions of potential in every person – as psychological knowledge in its earliest form.
These archetypes describe our inherited psychological potential. They show up in our lives as core qualities we can choose to leverage to our advantage. Viennese psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, was a peer of Jung’s. After his time as an inmate in the Nazi concentration camps and as a doctor in the psychiatric hospitals of Vienna, Frankl concluded that we have all potentialities within us at all times.
Professor Zimbardo’s famous Stanford University Prison Experiment demonstrated this to us very vividly 40 years ago. The two-week study on the psychology of prison life intended to examine the psychological effects on volunteers assigned, by means of a coin toss, as either prisoners or guards.
The study was stopped after only 6 days because the guards had become sadistic and the prisoners showed signs of extreme stress and depression. This outcome is the result of not staying conscious.
Talking about it last year, Zimbardo said: “It does tell us that human nature is not totally under the control of what we like to think of as free will, but that the majority of us can be seduced into behaving in ways totally atypical of what we believe we are.”
Daily, we all risk being seduced by our circumstance and living our lives on autopilot, of not exercising the free will to choose how we live it. By living on autopilot and not engaging fully in life, we risk missing living up to our full potential because the circumstances do not make it easy or convenient to do so.
A review of the astrology under which Oscar Pistorius was born shows he had the potential of becoming a superb athlete, but Oscar was born with a genetic defect that led to amputation of both his legs below the knees. In the 2012 Olympics, Oscar defied the fate of that circumstance and showed his potential as one of the world’s greatest runners.
What then is the difference between someone like Oscar, who reaches such an extraordinary peak, and all the other children born around the same time under the same stars?
In Oscar’s own words: “I train harder than other guys, eat better, sleep better and wake up thinking about athletics. I think that’s probably why I’m a bit of an exception.”
You can live up to your full potential by being aware of and effectively using all the core qualities of mind, spirit and heart. Being conscious of these qualities, what they are and what they do, enables you to knit them together synergistically in your own unique way.
Are you going to step into your potential?