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Always more Potential to Waste

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Avatar for themastergamer
Written by   15
3 months ago

My wife's work had a "family day" this afternoon, so we dropped by with Smallsteps for a hotdog, smoothie and a bounce on a jumping castle - as well as the highlight perhaps, getting a glittery unicorn tattoo.

I wonder how much influence these have on "tattoo culture" over the last couple decades, because when I was a kid, these fake ones weren't really a thing at all and now they are common. Now, people are absolutely covered in real ones and many have no qualms about having neck and face tattoos. I think at that point, you are saying - I am not going to be a lawyer.

Potential is a funny thing, as it is one of those constantly changing unknowns that are based on all the conditions at a given point in time, with those conditions also constantly changing to affect possibility. I am not one of the people who believe that any child can be anything, because it just isn't viable based on availability of opportunity and resources. Plus, there is the obvious genetic component that dictates a lot of what we are able to do. For instance, I don't think many from the Pacific Islands get into high jump as a sport.

I normally use height and basketball as an example - because I am a short ass.

I also think that a lot of what we choose to do is triggered by relatively minor events in our lives, where for example, our parents have a certain career so we follow or don't follow based on our understanding of their experience with it. With so many people hating their jobs and only doing it for the money, this is likely going to impact on children who will build their understanding of career that it is only done for the earning potential.

However, we also tell children to "do what they love" or makes them happy or something like that, yet fail to demonstrate and lead by example. We can say that "we didn't have the chance" to do what we loved, but is that actually the case or, did we just fail to take the opportunities when they arose, so our potential to do those things shifted what we love out of our reach?

Perhaps, "what we love" is a unicorn, it doesn't actually exist at all, because as humans, we are never content with anything for long, meaning that even if we find what we love today, pretty soon - we are looking for a new love to possess. It is a life of cyclical dissatisfaction, realization of goals, and then growing boredom into dissatisfaction again. We always want the next high, which has to be grander than the last in some way.

Even the people who "downsize their lives" are actually chasing an outcome of some kind, looking to grow their potential in some way. Moving from a house to an apartment to free up maintenance time or expense, getting rid of their car to ride a bike more and get exercise, living minimalistically in the country side to get out of the rat race - is still looking to maximize something. It might not be money or public status, but it is a value of some kind - even if only one that is held personally.

Like it or not, we are all chasing something, even if that is chasing less of something. We are human, it is what we do. But, humans are also evaluative, so we judge our experience, including our experiences with other people and observing their activity. Often, people judge those who chase money as greedy, yet the same person might be chasing free time, without seeing the greed in their own behavior. Both could be maximalists, but what they are maximizing is different, with the value of each applied at the personal level. It is like judging someone on their favorite color unfavorably, because it isn't the same color as your own favorite.

I made this mouse!

There weren't even instructions involved, I just winged it and twisted that sucker up.

Perhaps I have the potential for a career as a clown.

Yet, at 43 years of age, this was the first time I have ever had the opportunity to even attempt to make a balloon animal. So, my career clowning potential is probably pretty low, especially since based on conditions, circumstances and available resources, I probably need to keep the jobs I have in order to pay the bills and meet obligations.

The entry picture says "I'm about to reach my full potential", but in reality, we are always running at current full potential because that is all we can ever do. We are always doing our best, we are always doing all we can in the moment - but in the next moment, we can reflect back on what we did and say, I could have done more, I could have made different decisions, I could have been a different way. But, we weren't in that moment, because we actually couldn't do anything different than what we did, knowing what we did at the time, with the resources and conditions we had.

As said, potential is a funny thing, because it is only when we look back that we understand there were other choices we could have made that would have significantly changed our outcomes. But looking forward, we think we will make better decisions in the future, even though our reflections have always told us, we never ever optimize the moment completely.

Yet, despite never being able to maximize our potential, it doesn't mean we can't actively affect it by learning from the past and through others, to improve the decisions we would have made, if we didn't learn at all. That way, despite the changing dynamics and lack of optimization, we are still directing ourselves into the future, hopefully in ways that are valuable to us - even if other people think we are wasting our potential.

One thing is for sure. Potential is meaningless until it is realized.

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Written by   15
3 months ago
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