A sense of potential is a stand that one makes that something could, or maybe even should happen. The positive face of potential is a change for the better. Potential is like the drenched optimist standing in the rain, expectantly waiting for the clouds to pass and the sun to reappear. When we stretch our sense of potential then we imagine creating or experiencing more than we thought possible or that we deserved.
Potential vs possibility
Potential is different than possibility. Potential means something that is unrealised but has the ability to be realised; the power to become actual. Potential is a quality that is specific to a living agent (eg. a person) and to the present moment; “this thing could happen for me now”.
Possibility on the other hand is a more abstract idea. It is similar to potential but is not necessarily related to the present moment or to a specific person. For instance there is a possibility that we could become professional racing car drivers. My potential however, in this present moment is much less than that. Potential is a subset of possibility. Potential is something that could happen now whereas possibility is a realm that extends into pure imagination and beyond the bonds of someone’s potential in this present moment.
3 different kinds of potential
There are 3 different kinds of potential. The first two potentials relate to what is important to us, and the third potential relates to our ability to transform the first potential into the second.
The potential of more meaning in your life. I call this type of potential ”Meaningful Potential”. The fundamental question of this potential is “what is important to you now?”
The potential of fulfillment from life. The experience of the simple blessings of our life. This potential is called “Fulfilled Realisation”.
The potential of being able to influence these both. To be a meaningful participant of the first two potentials. This potential is called “Self Authorship”.
Let’s talk about each of these three types of potential in a little more detail.
1. Meaningful Potential
The first potential of life is that it might be filled with more of what is important to us, and less of what isn’t. This is where the term Meaningful Potential comes from. The term “meaning” funnily enough has several meanings, but I think the most significant and important of those is “being significant and important” :-). And especially being important to us (ie. you & me) here and now.
This is a great start but what makes it especially relevant is that it has potential. That means it has the power to become actual. It's more than just a pipe dream; it's the answer to the question "what is important to you now?" calling out to be realised. What an awesome first potential! That our lives, and indeed every moment of our lives, has the potential to be filled with more of what is important to us. Don’t you want to live there?
2. Fulfilled Realisation
The second potential of life lies in the fulfillment of what is important to us. A nourishing experience is simply an experience that you value; that you appreciate. When we work hard to bring more of what we want in our life into being then it deserves our attention and appreciation. When we transform the potential of meaning into physical form then we have Fulfilled Realisation.
Imagine the Meaningful Potential of “I would love a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice” being realised. And we now have an orange tree in front of us. When what is meaningful to us is made manifest we have transformed (or “authored”) “value” from one form into another; it is now Fulfilled Realisation.
The unique qualities of the second potential of Fulfilled Realisation are appreciation and nourishment. These qualities are like fruits on the tree; unless we pick the fruit and eat it then it’s potential to fulfill us is not realised. It takes an intentional act to extract the nourishment. We do this through consciously acknowledging and appreciating its presence. The core practice of Fulfilled Realisation is through Re-noticing and gratitude. It is only when we stop to notice and smell the metaphorical roses of our life that we unlock the fulfillment of the second potential. This is a particularly important message to the alpha types who go through life always questing for the next challenge but never stopping to appreciate the fruits of their mastery.
3. Self Authorship
The third potential of life is that of being a meaningful participant in life. The value in Self Authorship is that it is the transformative bridge between the first 2 potentials. To activate the potential you need to engage with it, otherwise it remains unrealised. Self authorship unlocks this potential. The core verb of Self Authorship is “realisation” in both of its meanings. To bring something into being AND to become aware of something.
Meaningful Potential without someone to “author” it into being is a pipe dream. And Fulfilled Realisation without someone to appreciate it is rotting fruit sitting on the ground under a tree.
The core stand that the Self Author makes is “I can be equal to everything”. To the challenges of realising Meaningful Potential or Fulfilled Realisation, and the deserving of those gifts of life. The quality of potential in Self Authorship is that it has potential to grow.
This is what it means to be a Meaningful Participant. To participate in the drama of realising what is important to us; both bringing it into being and then appreciating the blessings of this.
Waking up to potential
A prerequisite to potential is being conscious that it's there. We spend much of our life in a state of somewhat Asleepness where life is happening to us rather than through us. In order to move to being a meaningful participation in the drama of life we first of all need The Reawakener: Reawakening.
Without this we are just spectators or passengers in life living mechanically out of our Rusty Autopilot. Not fully participating in our own life and living without a fully conscious and intentional connection to these 3 possibilities.
How do you think our lives might be different if we changed our engagement with these 3 potentials? What would we have more of and what would we have less of in our life? And how hard would we be willing to work to pay for that? Because we are the one that defines what is important to us as well as having the choice to take responsibility for making it happen. Is life something that is 'Happening to you' or 'Happening through you'?
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It is our Capability that makes the difference. The philosophy of Meaningful Participation calls this The Law of Pay-for. The more capability we have the more we can create of what is important to us. And we already have some of this capability. And. If we want to build a better life we’ll need to develop it further. And capability in every form is built in the same way; with practice. Meaningful Participation calls this The Law of More. Practice builds capability.
Link to “The law of earned”
Our sister project IDOJO helps you practice. We show you how to practice, and give you the best environment available for building your self authoring capability. We embed ourselves in your life right here and now. What do you want more, or less of? We say practice pays twice. Practice builds capability which in turn builds the better life you hope for yourself. IDOJO; Train for a better life.
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Some of the most consequential things in life are invisible to us. For instance our assumptions about ourself create an invisible ceiling that limits our aspirations and actions. Societal norms form invisible walls that limit and direct acceptable choices and behaviour. Language and the Distinctions we use have an impact on what we pay attention to and how we interpret our experience. Just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. All of these invisible forces influence our life in a significant way without us being aware of it.
These influences are themselves an effect of prior or more fundamental causes. And right at the very root of all of these causal influences are the 3 hopes of life.
Each of these three hopes is inter-dependent upon the other. Their meaning and relevance only comes from their relationship to one another. This set of relationships is an expression of a core mathematical principle of life called The law of three.