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  1. #1
    Phantonym
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    Default Do you feel bound by your potential?

    I'm starting this thread in the NF Idyllic, but other types are welcome to participate as well.

    When I hear somebody talking about how this and this person has a lot of potential, it almost feels like an accusation that they're not good enough as they are right now. That they can be better if they only wanted to.

    But what if potential is the only thing that person has, and there are other things, unaware to the people around them, that nullify the potential?

    Do you find that other people knowing about your potential is helping or hindering you?
    Last edited by Phantonym; 06-18-2009 at 10:13 AM.

  2. #2
    That chalkboard guy Matthew_Z's Avatar
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    A potential is the "best" (very subjective as to what "best" mean) a person can be in the future, given their present state. (present state, of course, being influenced by past states of being) Because potential applies to the future, one shouldn't feel hindered by it in the present. You can be no more guilty of not hitting your potential than you can be guilty of it not being June 19th.

    I do accept that there is a feeling of inadequacy that could be felt if you are not presently meeting your potential that was gauged in the past. (IE: "You HAD a lot of potential.") Two important things to remember in this situation are that there is no objective way of measuring potential (and thus it cannot be proven that you did not meet your potential) and that regardless of any past potential, the task-at-hand is meeting your future potential, if you so desire.


    Forgive my second person; it's a habit. This is just my $0.02
    If a deaf INFP falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  3. #3
    Senior Member scortia's Avatar
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    I feel driven by my own potential but it drags me down a lot. I get very disappointed in myself for not doing more with my time. Each year I get older I look back at what I should have accomplished by now. But fortunately I'm still in my 20s so I'm not a spiral of self-loathing yet.

    In another vein, though its a bit off of the question, I do feel bound and overwhelmed by the fact I have potential in a lot of directions so I can't focus on them all properly. My musical side has been undernourished for years... I have to get into a proper mode to focus on my writing (fiction and non-fiction)... there's so many things I want to learn, read, create, and perfect to enrich me more but there's never a way to balance all of these things. It'd be nice to have one or two focuses alone because perfection would be a simpler road.

  4. #4
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    I think for me.. When I say that I see so much potential in someone, it's usually when I mean that in context to their situation. I don't think that they're at their best.. I equate it to their inability to see through whatever's pulling them down (i.e. a person with hidden potential- when they're stuck at home in an abusive environment where they're bound to stick around due to love/obligation)..

    I don't in any way mean it in a way where I'm disrespecting them, but perhaps to help guide them through their times of blindness.

    Sometimes, it's easier when we're on the outside looking in, and sometimes, it's beneficial to bring it to the other person's attention, because we care. But I get it. Sometimes, if we care too much and we get ourselves involved too much, we're also undermining their own abilities to pick themselves up through their own situation.. I guess, it would really depend- but I think that telling the person how I honestly see things is also being a friend a well, because friends tell us the truth, whether we like it or not. Depends on how they say it.. and whether or not the other person takes it constructively.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    I think I have kind of a love-hate relationship with potential. I dropped out of HS at age 16, throwing away all that "potential." After that, people stopped thinking I had potential, so I got a college degree and started a pretty successful career. Suddenly, all that "potential" came rushing back, and I hated it. It's as though I have a need to prove myself, but once I prove myself I want to prove that I don't have to live up to anything.

  6. #6
    Member Saffronsocks's Avatar
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    Mmm, I'd be lost without potential. I kind of equate it to some invisible, ideal future self that I can strive for in my daily life, or even the ideal future point of anything! Ideas, relationships, the world, etc... potential is like reaching for the moon and landing among the stars, to dip into the wellspring of wisdom that is those posters with the kitties on them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dotdalidot's Avatar
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    Potential, or at least knowing that I have potential is what I live for. If I start to believe that I have none than what's the point of living? I mean, if I don't have the potential to fulfill my purpose, then why have a purpose. I'd feel a little dead inside without it. Maybe I'm equating the word potential with 'capability'.

    I think everyone has potential, or the capability to achieve whatever there is that needs to be achieved, some people just don't want to realize it, or they just prefer to keep their energy stored, like potential energy.

  8. #8
    Member nocebo's Avatar
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    In the case of children, it's best to drop them from a cliff while their young.

    Although the potential energy can also increase with increased mass (ie. fattening foods), older children are more capable of running off towards their own dreams and goals. Best make use of their potential while possible.

  9. #9
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    I never had a 'perfect self' that I strived for. I just have me. This lump of clay that needs molding into something interesting and/or useful.I would rather feel useful that feel that I have potential. Potential is too binding; it feels like "Oh you're good at X so you gotta do that for a living" instead of "You're good at X, but you're interested in Y, which you aren't so good at."

    Potential makes people 'one trick ponies' unless they're a polymath like DaVinci. I think it might be my adolescent rebelliousness kicking in since I believe more in forging my own path than being stuck on the road my potential decides for me.

    Even weirder is that my core value is balance. Even if I demand a level of freedom, I am willing to bend a certain direction if it is promising and interesting.

    [/ramble]
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

    This is who I am, escapist, paradise-seeker.
    -Nightwish

    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

  10. #10
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scortia View Post
    I feel driven by my own potential but it drags me down a lot. I get very disappointed in myself for not doing more with my time. Each year I get older I look back at what I should have accomplished by now. But fortunately I'm still in my 20s so I'm not a spiral of self-loathing yet.

    In another vein, though its a bit off of the question, I do feel bound and overwhelmed by the fact I have potential in a lot of directions so I can't focus on them all properly. My musical side has been undernourished for years... I have to get into a proper mode to focus on my writing (fiction and non-fiction)... there's so many things I want to learn, read, create, and perfect to enrich me more but there's never a way to balance all of these things. It'd be nice to have one or two focuses alone because perfection would be a simpler road.
    +1,

    when i think of the possibility of dying, the main thing that upsets me is the potential that would be lost and the work gone into enhancing that. my own potential is the motivation that keeps me going and gets me back on track when i lose focus, direction, purpose, etc. and the way that potential intersects with others, what i feel capable of doing for myself and for them, etc. i love so many aspects of my life and every now and then i am in touch with my own gratitude, but actualizing my potential is far more COMPELLING as a storyline for the value i see in my own life as a human being. making what i do and what is important to me worthwhile and appreciated and expressed fully and completely. bc so much of what i do IS create a vision, an understanding, an awareness, a compassion, an conceptual cleanliness, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    I think I have kind of a love-hate relationship with potential. I dropped out of HS at age 16, throwing away all that "potential." After that, people stopped thinking I had potential, so I got a college degree and started a pretty successful career. Suddenly, all that "potential" came rushing back, and I hated it. It's as though I have a need to prove myself, but once I prove myself I want to prove that I don't have to live up to anything.
    so defiant!

    i'm currently waiting tables for money and i have that sense of being forgotten by others, which is nice in some ways and terrible in others. you never have more social freedom than when no one notices you, but at the same time, it gets maddening when you get disrespected by far less capable creatures than yourself. i'm thinking about going back to school, but starting small and aiming for a middle ground commitment-wise that will benefit me, allow me to explore exactly what i want with very little waste, and still put me in a much better situation afterwards both in terms of my own development and my external like resume. a little validity helps out there in the "real world," protects you with a bit of power in your corner to wield.

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