A discussion often endured in formal and informal life is how to reach our full potential. My definition of reaching our full potential is adding maximal value to the world as a whole, based on your uniqueness as a human being. I assert that it is possible for everyone to reach his or hers full potential. Our innate personal uniqueness is expressed by a natural tendency to follow our passion automatically. Nevertheless, nowadays, it has never been so difficult to reach our full potential!
Anno 21e century we are all constantly discussing our quest to find our passion. Finding you true passion should, in the end, result in reaching our full potential. Despite the fact we are discussing this phenomenon in talk shows, on the internet and in on the work floor, it has never been so difficult to reach our full potential. And even so this time, the society is to blame. Our society has the awful tendency to put people in boxes and think there is one best way. This is clearly reflected in education, upbringing and societal expectation.
In our well-organised education system, we are taught in one specific way with an emphasize to shut our mouth and listen. In our upbringing, we are forced upon us the values congruent with the values of our parents. Our surrounding expects us to behave according to the defined ‘best’ of the society. A Dutch expression claims there are 3 R’s you ought to follow for a prosperous life. Take your Rest, take care of your hygiene and live on a Regular basis (Rust – Reinheid – Regelmaat).
However, do these practices and patterns guide us toward our prosperous life or do these practices guide us toward an encapsulated life? I believe there is no ONE way or ONE set of principles to a prosperous life. Recently, I was talking to a colleague here in Dublin. He shared a personal experience that precisely clarified that there is not ONE way or ONE set of principles that suits everyone.
Julie’s struggle to spread her Wings
My colleague is about 10 years older than me. He already has two children; a boy and a girl. The boy is prospering at school. He is scoring the highest grades in the class and gets along well with the entire class. We can refer to his son as a dream student. He is social, intelligent, disciplined and is obedient to the rules set by the school. However, my colleague’s daughter, Julie, is struggling at school and in life.
Julie is 7 years old. She is restless and chaotic. Her mind is occupied with a million things at ones during lessons, except for paying attention to the words of the teacher. She is considered intelligent. However, she is not disciplined to integrate and apply it. Hence, she obtains bad marks. She is considered social. However, her fellow students begin to count her out more often during games. They think she is a little strange.
Julie’s teacher is concerned about her future. Hence, the teacher imposes her to visit the headmaster, together with her parents. The day they visited the headmaster, Julie was petrified waiting for the verdict. She knew that she wasn’t behaving as expected and worried to be punished. The headmaster acknowledges the concern of the teacher and clarified that professional help was necessary. His recommendation is that Julie visits a psychological specialist. He stated desperately: “Maybe a shrink can clarify where Julie is going through”. Does Julie suffer from ADHD? Does Julie have a special behavioral disorder? Is Julie retarded?
Based on the conversation with the headmaster, Julie felt even more petrified. So, she acted as obedient as she was possible to. She answered all probing question of the shrink to the best of her ability. Julie doubted clearly how to behave and how to satisfy her parents. She really wanted her parents to be proud of her.
After asking a list of questions, the shrink had a clear diagnosis. He asked Julie to wait in the room while processing some paperwork outside the office with her parents. The shrink emphasized that she didn’t have to worry, turned on the radio and left the room with my colleague and his wife. After they closed the door the shrink said: “No worries about the paperwork. That is already sorted. Please turn around and look through the one-direction-glass of the window in the door of my office. Can you see your daughter sitting there?”
Julie was sitting patiently waiting for her parents to return. She looked around. The melodic cheerful tunes, coming from the radio, found their way towards the ears of Julie. Julie liked this number and started tapping on her thighs. She really liked this number and started slapping rhythmic on her knees. After a while, she couldn’t hold it any longer and jumped from her chair and started dancing through the room. She enjoyed the music and the music enjoyed her.
The shrink, my colleague and his wife were captivated by Julie. Not because of her profound, controlled and smooth moves. They were captivated by the happiness that she ventilated. It seemed like the room brightened up. It seemed like there was not sorrow and pain in the world. There was only this passionate girl enjoying the sound waves escaping the radio.
Julie was finally able to spread her wings.