I recently gave my friend (shout out to JoAnne) a calendar as a belated Christmas gift with the subject title, “Dwell In The Possibilities”. We’ve been having fun dwelling on the possibility of eating chocolate over the possibility of getting exercise and now I am beginning to believe that dwelling in the possibilities can be a dangerous thing.
All kidding aside, I have been pondering on the word potential versus possibility and what makes them different from each other. I looked both up in the dictionary and both use the other to describe its meaning. So one would think they are interchangeable. I’m not convinced.
The online dictionary states that “possibility” is an unspecified quality of a promising nature. While “potential” as having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future. Possibilities are more nebulous in form than potential is, and that is where the danger lies.
An idea that has potential, has substance. Factors have been considered and may have qualities that can be developed for future success. While the possibility of an idea is still in the formation state, it has a musing quality to it.
Now why would this matter? Why would you care if your thoughts have potential or if they instead just dwell in the realm of possibilities? Well it doesn’t matter, unless you factor in one other word – action.
Action is my word for 2019. I chose it because I wanted to affect real movement in my life this year. So when I apply the word “action” to the word “potential”, my mind creates a plan. But when I apply “possibility” to “action”, my mind just creates more possibilities.
Do you see the difference now? Possibility keeps you in the dream world while potential projects you into your future.
I remember one of my childhood report cards that had a comment from the teacher who stated that I wasn’t using my full potential in her class. I was hurt and angry because I felt I was working as hard as I could. The reality was that I was angry and hurt because deep inside, I knew I was not working up to my potential and didn’t like that I had been called out on it.
The emotions of guilt and frustration are good barometers to judge your real potential by. If you know you should be doing something, or you are frustrated at seeing others succeed with ideas similar to yours, than you are not living up to your full potential. All the possibilities in the world are not going to change those negative emotions until you transform then into real potential.
So while it’s fun to dwell in the possibilities of what your life could be, and it’s lovely to dream and imagine, unless you connect those amazing ideas with a little action, they will never manifest into the very thing that they have the potential of becoming.
Now ask yourself this, what possibilities of yours have real potential. Those are the ones you should take action on if you want to see a different future.