It is often said that our personal beliefs are what limits our potential. As I thought about this, it appeared to make a belief sound very solid, and by contrast potential sounded a bit ephemeral and abstract.  But is this really true?

What are beliefs? What is Potential?  How do they relate to one another ...

We certainly talk about beliefs as solid things.  We need to get over, overcome or leave them behind us. We sense they limit us, and we speak and act as if they were both within us and "out there."

It is funny how the more we see beliefs as limiting, in the way, or something to deal with, the more important they appear. And the more real.  But are they? (See the radio show on Thought Ruts). 

In my experience, beliefs are not solid things. They are just thoughts. A thought never hurt anyone all by itself. A thought never hurt you either. Even the feeling of a thought never can hurt you.   Even if you have been believing or thinking something for a long time and no matter how many other people agree ("The earth is flat!") look and see, is it really anything more than a passing idea?

We are quick to consider our thoughts and beliefs as "truth." But it does not make them so.
Potential is something you have inside you.  Think of it as untapped ability.

A horse may not ever in the whole of it's life jump a fence, but it certainly has the potential, or the ability to jump.

Potential is not what you think you can do, it is what you use to do what you decide to do.

I can't pack a parachute properly. My potential to do so lies in the innate intelligence I have to learn anything.

Potential is a very interesting things to consider, because it is not a belief. It lies behind what you think and believe, as permanent possibility.  Only its expression can be limited by what we think is possible.

In fact, anyone believing certain things to be true about themselves will conceive of their potential and their possibilities in a particular way. If their thoughts are limiting, that sense of limitation and the feeling of constraint is a real experience in the moment, but not a permanent truth.  And, more importantly, it doesn't change what potential is.

You cannot tarnish potential just because you see yourself as limited. But you can experience yourself as limited.

Your potential is a power.  It is an unseen force that is expressed very differently in each of us in beautiful, unique ways.

What happens to your ideas about your own potential when you think of potential as a power?

What happens to your ideas about change when you think of beliefs as solid?

On this note, it's interesting to remember that even matter is not solid.  Modern quantum physics says an atom does not have a nucleus made of "particles" in the way it was once thought. 

Energy in the nucleus, electrons, can express in forms of waves or particles. It depends. (See Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle). So even matter, although it's hard to grasp this, is not that solid.  And since electrons can express in different forms, that means the core of an atom is actually potential.  

Just like the core of you.


01/17/2013 10:14

Thank you for this reminder
I really feel for others that do not achieve their full potential
I do volunteer work at a special school and last week one pupil said hello could not use a drill - this based on one 'failed' attempt
As I asked him where hello learned the word can't I realised that I was also talking to my almost 60 year old self

01/17/2013 18:48

Hi Trish,
Thank you. There are so many ways we decide we "can't," - it's nice to know these are not real limitations, but thoughts. In fact, what we think are "real" limitations are even in question! Have you have ever seen this video? Derek Parvacini made me question even more my own notions of limits and potential.
See this CBS 60 minutes show:

08/16/2013 02:44

I am really impressed with this relevant post that relates our personal believes with our potential! It is an obvious fact that many people know the significance of a potential mind in success of life but most are not familiar with the related factors and all!

10/01/2013 06:14

This topic is the one that I have been looking into from last 3 days and your insight is extremely useful. Thanks for sharing this information

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