You probably learned about the Pygmalion Effect in a college course during freshman year, but since we’ve all slept since then, let me refresh your memory. The Pygmalion Effect says that positive expectations (from an outside authority) positively influence personal performance and vice versa in the negative sense. Even more powerful than the Pygmalion Effect, especially in relation to a business environment, is the Galatea Effect. This term says that an individual’s personal opinion about his or her ability to succeed will largely determine personal fulfillment and performance. So, what’s with the psychology lesson? On the quest to realizing your potential, the way you view yourself has a lot more influence than the way others view you.
People talk all the time about “potential” but what does that even mean? For starters, let’s define it. I think that word can mean different things to different people, but let’s use Merriam-Webster’s definition to keep things consistent. The dictionary defines potential as a quality or ability someone has that can be developed to make that person become successful. Your potential is your hidden talents, unused abilities and unknown strengths and capabilities. A lot of people are unaware of the immense potential they possess.
But, how do you become aware of your potential if you don’t know that it exists? I think the journey truly begins with self-acceptance. Are you comfortable enough with yourself to want to unlock your potential? Are you confident enough in who you are to accept challenges and overcome failure that might occur? If so, you’re on the right track.
Similar to the definition of potential, I think unlocking your potential means something different to everyone and comes at different times in a person’s life. It doesn’t always have to be crossing something off a bucket list, although it can be. For me, it’s continuing to set goals for myself and achieving those goals, especially when it means stepping outside of my comfort zone. When I’m afraid to do something or I’m pushed to my limits, I know I’m on the verge of uncovering talent and ability I didn’t even know I had. In return, that newly discovered potential can be applied to my next objective and so on and so forth. Going back to self-acceptance, it’s a vital part of realizing that potential. As you’re continuing to learn what you’re capable of, there will be people who want to knock you down along the way. Listen to them if you must, maybe you’ll learn something. But, don’t ever let them bring you down.
Many people talk about reaching your “full potential,” but I don’t think you ever truly reach your potential limit. Have you ever met someone that said, “My potential meter is full”? I like to refer to it, as “unlocking your potential.” There are always opportunities to learn about and grow yourself.
Unlocking your potential is about taking a personal look at how you define success, finding your path to get there and utilizing your talent. What steps will you take today to unlock your potential and achieve personal fulfillment?
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