having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.
Similar: possible, likely, prospective, future, probable, budding, in the making, latent, embryonic, developing, dormant, inherent, unrealised, undeveloped.
Noun: latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
Similar: possibilities, potentiality, prospects, promise, capability, capacity, ability, power, aptitude, talent,
flair, what it takes.
Every so often I find myself reaching for the dictionary to get the absolute detailed and distilled definition of a word. This time around, it was the word “potential” that got me. It is said one of the most painful things in life is when we fail to realise it. If you don’t know you have potential, does it still count if you don’t succeed?
Existential angst is something we all face – at least I would like to think we are prone to self-reflection! And along with it, the thought that we might not be living it up as our higher selves. A self that is actualised when we meet the mysterious ‘potential.’ The problem with potential is that it is a moving target. You get to a place, think arrival, then you find another rung. It can be exhausting – unless, of course, you treat it as an opportunity to be met with aplomb.
I remember report forms promising my parents and teachers that I really did have the capacity to learn, succeed, and maybe even thrive, if only I applied myself. Something I never did with my schoolwork. I drifted through my education, unbothered by the word ‘potential.’ Not because I didn’t grasp it, but because no one ever put it in context. I didn’t realise its promise until I became a journalist.
This is why I am ambiguous about the word. I lived for years with unmet potential because I was clueless because how do you miss something you don’t understand? Now I see potential in everything. That blade of grass – yes, really, my writers, the interns, my employers, all the CIOs and CEOs I have interviewed, the one-year-old toddling, women in tech leadership, the seven-year-old weeping over a noisy swing – there is no such thing as a fully self-actualised human because there is always that one other thing. It makes life both arduous and fascinating depending on how you got out of bed that day.
Today, I rose with ‘potential.’ Which is why this letter from the Editor-in-Chief got written. Jill Scott’s Golden came along for the ride because it captures that oh-so-elusive higher self we keep promising ourselves we will attain in the New Year.
I’m holding on to my freedom, Can’t take it from me
I was born into it, It comes naturally
I’m strumming my own freedom, Playing the God in me
Representing his glory, Hope he’s proud of me
I know you still make something along the lines of resolutions. It is an inevitability that at one point in your life, you have wished for more from yourself. That, Ambitious One, is the yearning to meet your own ‘potential.’ 2022 could be that year.
Here’s to wishing you a Prosperous New Year ahead, Ambitious One!
Do you have a story that you think would interest our readers? write to us firstname.lastname@example.org