“All we are not stares back at what we are.” – Wystan Hugh Auden
In reading these words, I begin to question where I am going in life, and where I want to be. Is the me I see in the future the me I hope to be, or do I see more unfulfilled potential that lies within, challenging me to let it out? I feel that Wystan, here, is trying to motivate each of us to look at ourselves in a different light, to see our potential and not just the person that we are now. Likewise, this same idea holds true when we look at the potential of others in life.
I remember another similar idea perfectly expressed as such: “You can count the seeds in the apple, but not the apples in the seed.” There is no way of knowing the extent of the potential in anything, really, and something like an apple seed can give us years and years of bountiful harvests, with uncounted apples. It seems that our perspective on potential makes all the difference.
And just as there is no way to know how many apples will be produced from an apple tree grown from a single seed, there is no way to know the potential that resides in each of us and everyone that we meet. It is interesting to reflect even further upon this and note that just like the apple seed, our potential is realized by creating just the right conditions for our growth and development. Just as the apple cannot thrive in dry, barren climates, we too will find it difficult for ourselves to thrive in situations that are not nourishing to us.
Always seek out your potential. Look for it in yourself and in those around you, and then embrace it and nourish it so that it may grow to produce much for all.
Close your eyes and take a few minutes to imagine the potential you staring back at you.
Questions to consider:
How much potential do you have?
Have you put yourself in situations in which you are able to develop your abilities and use that potential?
What can you do today to take one more step towards reaching your potential? How about towards helping others reach their potential?
For further thought:
“When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.” –
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe