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Personal potential and how to achieve it.

Are you highly driven to achieve?  Many people are.  Have you given much thought to how it’s actually done?  Chances are you know the obvious outward skills and traits required, stories of how the rich and famous say they did it are abundantly available.  But have you actually considered the introspective work needed to be highly successful?  Great achievements require a lot of work and sacrifice and this typically creates a lot of internal conflict along the way.  If you fail to minimize this by living a reasonably balanced life part of your personality often sabotages your effort.  The healthiest choice is to find a way to resolve or minimize these internal conflicts.

To achieve greatness at sports you must excel in the area of mind/body connection and be mentally in tune with your body.  A great performance is more than a great physical effort, it is also evidence of great mental visualization and orchestration of the two, mind almost instinctively driving but not over driving muscle.  A brilliant business deal well executed is much more than just making money, it’s an optimum blend of vision, clear thinking, business acumen, and understanding of people and of group dynamics.  Often a sixth sense seems to be involved in bringing it all together.  To excel in the arts you must become a finely tuned holistic conduit of expression enabling what is taken in by your senses and created in your mind to be conveyed in a compelling way that invites a similar emotional response from your audience.  You must know yourself in some significantly introspective ways in order to achieve this fine edge and your internal conflicts must be minimized to maintain this edge over time.

There is another version of personal potential, a more well rounded less specialized form.  Those who pursue it will eventually find peace, happiness and connection but few will find fame or fortune.  Although rarely completed the path is begun by many.  The foundation is a renaissance of one’s authenticity and autonomy leading to greater connection and finally oneness.  The character of this path can begin to be understood by looking at human emotion.  If you push and shove all human emotion can be squeezed into just four emotions; mad, sad, glad and scared.  This simplification is often useful for understanding what’s going on with people.

These four emotions form two axis, the first is mad – scared which is largely the animal based instinct of fight or flight.  It is an instinct that was once very useful and appropriate to life in the wild but it’s not nearly as useful or healthy to those living in the city.  Were we wild animals, threats would be occasional acute alerts allowing relaxation to occur as they passed but the stress of the work-a-day hamster wheel of city life is chronic and chronic stress causes illness and road-rage.  So it doesn’t take much digging to come to the conclusion that our fear and anger responses are far too exaggerated for healthy modern city dwelling and we need to learn to turn them down for our own good and for the good of those around us.

The other axis is glad – sad.  As a part of my exploration into the mysteries of life I lived a vow of poverty for a while.  I enjoyed nice things before this vow and I still enjoy them so this is not a judgment against materialism but much can be learned by temporarily reducing materialism to a minimum.  Three things stand out from this lesson that relate to this article.  The first is material happiness is too often lust based.  Our craving is temporary quenched with the ego rub of acquiring the next new thing, then on to the next craving and the next new thing, etc.  The second is the repeating circle of acquiring and paying for the acquisition is a giant diversion that draws far too much of our time and attention away from connecting with those we love.  The third is in the absence of materialism it becomes obvious that being connected to other people is our main source true happiness and this brings us back to the glad – sad axis.   Excluding mood disorders happiness is the result of connection, intimacy and oneness.  Sadness is our distance from those things.

To summarize the emotion based conclusions, too much anger and fear get us into trouble, distances us from others and make us sick.  If we want to be happier it’s important to realize that having intimate connection with others is more important than buying new things.

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