A phrase I hear a lot in life is people’s quest to reach their full potential. Material possessions have value in the present, but have the potential to be something else in the future. For example, you could buy a house that has low value to start, but the potential of that house could be quite high depending on what you do with it. This can apply to almost anything in life: careers, investments, business, and the list goes on! People have potential too. I tend to think a lot about the example of Giannis Antetokounmpo when he got drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013. If you look at a picture of him in 2013, you can imagine the reaction of the fans when they got news that the Bucks drafted him with their first round pick (I can remember it vividly). Contrary to his value in the moment, the Bucks picked him because his potential was sky high, and look at him now.
Our Bodies Have A Ceiling
In society, there is a picture painted that you can be whatever you want to be if you work hard enough for it. In the sports world this concept is adopted heavily, as it should, because to become a champion you need to work relentlessly. However, the concept simply does not work for all scenarios. You can’t win championships if you don’t have anyone that throws hard, you can’t win state if your heaviest guy on the offensive line is 150 lbs. Now are there underdogs? Of course and I am all for an underdog. Heck, I’m an underdog, but as people our physical capabilities have ceilings. Our height has a ceiling, our length has a ceiling, our strength has a ceiling, our speed has a ceiling, our explosiveness has a ceiling, and the list goes on. For example, we are each born with a certain amount of type I (slow twitch) and type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers. Someone that is type I dominant will have a high ceiling for endurance activities, but low ceiling when it comes to strength and power performance. Someone that is type II dominant will have a low ceiling for endurance activities, but a high ceiling when it comes to strength and power performance. With training, these can shift on a continuum, but never truly change from type I to type II and vice versa. Am I saying that if you are 5”8’ you should give up on your dream to play in the NBA? No, it is possible and has been done, but when you reach your physical ceiling, that trait becomes uncontrollable. That is why you see franchises take risks like the Bucks drafting Giannis, his physical ceiling is quite tall (no pun intended). However, more often than not, we see the opposite happen. In my playing days, I have seen countless players that had the physical ceiling to make it big time, but they rarely do. How many times have you heard the saying “if only I was x height, I would be in the NBA” “if only I threw x hard I would be in the big leagues.” I have heard them countless times, heck I may have said it a few times myself. However, whatever you may be doing, you should not focus on your physical ceiling, or the things you cannot control. Instead focus your energy on what you can control…your mind.
Our Mind Has No Ceiling
I know that last section may have sounded discouraging, but I have good news: The ultimate trump card has potential that is limitless. The trump card is our mind. My former college coach used to always say “mind over body” when things got tough. In those moments, I was convinced that it was one of those tough man quotes that had no true meaning to it. Looking back, it’s meaning is 100% true. There are physiological mechanisms that induce fatigue, making the meaning quantifiable. However, the mind can influence our perception of fatigue/pain which can cause us to push through and persevere. That small example showed me the mind has no ceiling, and is what makes reaching our full potential possible. In fact, reaching one’s full potential is a lifelong mission that has no ceiling. There is no end point. With that being said, how do we master that organ inside our skull? Great question. To be honest, I don’t know, but here’s what I am doing to start.
- Growth Mindset
- Control the Controllables
- Live On Principles Not Emotions
- Rest and Reflect
Stay tuned as I dive deeper into these in the future.
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