Potential is a tricky thing. It’s not what we are or can do now, but what we can be or do. These powers range all over the place though sometimes imaginary limits keep us from obtaining them. Limits that exist not in reality are based in the mind. They live in the minds of others or thrive in ourselves. In order to surpass these imposed limitations, we need to have willpower. If they exist in the minds of others, we need to combat them and prove to them, as well as ourselves, that the potential does exist.
On the other hand, it’s not that simple. There are some things we should never do unless necessary. Some should never ever be done (like destroying the world, of course). Just because we have the ability to do something, doesn’t mean it is right. How can we know this to be true? Because Temptations only exist with the perception of being able to do something. These include good and evil temptations. If we do not think we can do something, we will not be inclined to act on them. We may wish for them, we won’t act (though, unhealthy wishing may produce the illusion that you can do it).
So why are we tempted? It’s because success can give us a satisfaction. When we live to some of our potential, we feel joy. We feel like we are more complete. We define ourselves by not only our failures, but our accomplishments. When we realize we don’t tap our potential, then we feel dissatisfied and turn to either anger or sadness. There are cases when these don’t occur, but quite the opposite, but I will address them later.
I know from when I was playing soccer that I would feel depressed and angry for my coach not placing me in the position I could do my best. I did not have the skill set to be a great defender; the only problem was that everyone else was worse. Since my coach believed the best offense was a good defense, he decided to place his best players on defense, even though they were better for offense. Though we really were good for midfield, which is why we were at least decent for defense. The problem is that because the offense was so bad, we were always defending and we could not hold it out for the 90 minutes. With no help from offense, it just became annoying, because we knew we could do better if our coach would arrange us where we could play our best. We actually did much better the few times we had a 2-man defense instead of our usual 4, because that allowed us to further tap our potential.
This leads to perhaps the happiest moment for me on the field. It was a rainy day, but rainy days seem to amplify great moments. This was the one time I scored a goal. I had been training for that my entire career, but I was almost always placed on the defensive end. So finally, I was allowed to go on the offensive. Finally, I could play the ball as it should be. It happened within 10 seconds after the 2nd half started. So even though we lost 10-1, and it was raining almost the entire time, I was ecstatic and that moment still brings me some joy. Four years of heavily devoted practice had finally paid off.
Potential combined with hope. The two are linked and they give great joy when fulfilled. When it’s just potential, then the joy does not always follow. Sometimes, it’s pure boredom. Good fathers generally lower their skills when “competing” with their little ones. At this point, they do not care about winning, because they find more joy in their children’s happiness and hope. I know I’m not great in some games, but I’m definitely better than some of the people I play with. If I wanted to, I could win possibly 100% of the time, but that’s not fun for me and my friends (at least those very casual ones). So to play with a handicap is not a problem for me (by playing a character I’m not good with). To let them taste victory gives me more satisfaction. Similar to ping pong where I like to play with my bad hand, though there I also like the idea of training that hand so I can still play when I screw up my good one.
One last example is one I can taste the satisfaction every time I realized I have done it. It may seem small, but it gives me hope and lets me taste potential. My friends know that I refuse to see or read Harry Potter. They think it’s stupid that I’m “missing out,” but frankly, I don’t care. There are plenty of good movies I’ve seen. I can afford to skip out on a few. I also know, we have other options to have fun. It does get annoying to have to endure the peer-pressure, but it gives me strength knowing that I have resisted. It gives me the courage to be able to resist anything that I don’t like. It allows me to be myself and let my friends know instinctively that I can act on willpower. It lets me be a positive influence around others instead of them potentially being a negative because I can show every day that I am above the influence.