How to Maximize Your Potential

“The trouble is you think you have time.”


Sit back from the computer or your phone for a minute and think to yourself. What all has happened to you today? How is your day going? Who have you spoken to? What are you feeling right now? There’s one big key to having everything you want and maximizing your potential. Know what it is?

Staying present.

There’s this modern day stigma that we have to always be accomplishing something or at minimum doing something. Not only that, we constantly dwell on our potential past mistakes or the good memories of the past and look to the future hoping for a better life.

When I was a kid I didn’t want traditional Christmas Presents. I was a bit of a wild child. For example, I remember going to my Dad’s office at age 7 and loving the copy machine. That’s right. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in my life. I wrote a letter to Santa saying I don’t want anything else. I just want a copy machine. I remember going to bed that night and as I closed my eyes dreaming that I’d walk into the living room the next morning and see a giant Canon Xerox copy machine in there making copies. I’m not sure Santa would have fit that thing in the sleigh. But he was going to have to because I wanted my copy machine. Sadly, I didn’t get it. Not sure what Santa was thinking. Geez. My parents must have loved that when speaking with their friends at the Christmas parties. Johnny wanted a bike and Suzie wanted a Barbie. What does Geoff want? A Xerox Copy machine. I ended up getting an Etch-A-Sketch. Santa how could you!? Lame.

Now of course looking back, I realize that was silly. But what I’ve learned from it is that it’s best we enjoy life in the present moment and live moment to moment. Otherwise we’ll look back and realize what we could have been or what we missed. I treasure the copy machine memory but only because as a child I had an imagination and of course my ability to dream intact. I was living in the present moment. Keep that. It’s everything. You have this imagination present day. Let’s look at some examples of Past and Future from movies and television.

The Past:

Andy’s quote from The Office finale still rings in people’s minds. While heartfelt, I feel it was a myth. The good old days are always there. They are in your present moment. They are days you are living now and will be forever living. If you stay present your life is forever packed with Good CURRENT Days. Recognize them now while you’re in them and you will feel forever fulfilled.

The Future:

Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby dreamed of a better life. One with Daisy Buchanan. But it wasn’t real. That greenlight at the end of the Buchanan’s dock was a symbol of hope, freedom, and a better life. But he forgot the life he was living. His life was a Potemkin village. A cardboard cutout. The greenlight was no different that the bright lights of the Hollywood Sign making many with lost dreams think that becoming famous or more popular “means something”. It doesn’t. Life will always present problems. The key is how you respond to those problems in the present moment.

It reminds me of Gatsby’s reference to the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg and the philosophical meaning behind them. People like to lump the eyes overlooking the world of Gatsby as being linked to God, religion, or capitalism but I have another interpretation. What if they’re a reference to keeping self-aware and SEEING yourself in each moment. We fail to check-in with ourselves. Our eyes are not seeing the crisp current present but always looking to the past or future for answers. Something to ponder.

I remember seeing this on Sunset Blvd once from the modern day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and being struck with the comparison.

Finally, Tom Hanks character Chuck Noland in Cast Away talks about the value of what he learned living in solitude on an Island for 4 years. He kept breathing and pressed on. He learned to live in the present and appreciate who he was. And guess what? The tides changed. And it punched his ticket home to Memphis.

Stay present friends.

Who knows what the tide could bring?

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