Potential – the capacity to become something [greater] in the future.

We all desire to become the best versions of ourselves. While the concept of full potential looks different for each fo us, the barriers we face are the same. Overcoming obstacles begins with awareness and therefore, this blog is about the two main barriers providing resistance on our path to forward progress and full potential – comfort and comparison.

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Comfort Is a Slow Death

As human beings, we’re programmed for comfort because comfort is safe.

While that design might have made sense for our ancestors, it doesn’t work well for most people reading this who don’t face imminent threats on a regular basis. In a world where comfort is easier to find than ever, avoiding discomfort has become commonplace and full potential is becoming increasingly elusive. The biggest risk is attempting avoid all risk.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller

True strength only comes through struggle and the most beautiful people in the world understand suffering. Without resistance, discomfort, challenges, obstacles, hardship, etc., we would be weak, formless blobs (a slight exaggeration but one grounded in truth nonetheless). The pursuit of our full potential demands that we brush up against resistance, lean into discomfort and embrace challenge because growth doesn’t happen otherwise and it doesn’t happen without intention. Pursuing our full potential means working against resistance to do the right thing instead of the easier thing. It requires us to think ahead and internalize the truth that unexpressed potential turns into the pain of regret – we have to be willing to sacrifice what we want now for what we want most (listen to this conversation on comfort).

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Comparison Is a Thief

The grass is always greener…

It’s human nature to compare our state to that of those around us. However, in a world where we see more pictures (and videos) than ever without seeing the whole picture, the danger of comparison increases. We tend to look to those around us and assume that all is well behind the scenes – we seem to forget that we all have problems and that nothing is as good as it seems on the surface. I couldn’t say it better than the quote below…

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Steve Furtick

In order to pursue our full potential, we need to be authentic because we can’t be the best versions of ourselves if we aren’t being ourselves to begin with. We need to understand that we are all writing our own stories with different plots, different chapters, different characters, different… You get it. Comparison out of context can be catastrophic for our confidence. Instead of wishing that we were someone else, we need to spend more time getting to know who we are and who we want to become. Being authentic means living from the inside-out and not caring if that looks different from those around us. We all have so much to offer in this world and it’s time to embrace our uniqueness (read more about being authentic).

“​​When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

Pablo Picasso

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To sum it up: Pursuing potential is uncomfortable but unexpressed potential turns to pain. Don’t discomfort turn to the pain of what could have been – do hard things (often). In order to be the best versions of ourselves, we need to be ourselves (authentic) to begin with. From there, we need to avoid comparison and build character.

The internal battles with comfort and comparison are lifelong. While we might not ever defeat either of these things, we can always put up a fight and that struggle is where we learn, where we live and how we grow. On the path toward our best self, we need to be authentic, do hard things and never forget that the highs don’t happen without the lows.

There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is merely the comparison of one state to the other. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss.

Alexandre Dumas

Thank you for reading!

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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