How To Unlock Hidden Potential – Part 1
by Thomas Hadley
How do we unlock hidden potential? First of all, where should we be looking for this potential? To begin answering this question, I will quote Napoleon Hill. In his audio program, The Road to Riches, he says: “Start each day with an expression of gratitude for all the adversities, defeats, and failures you have experienced in the past, and search for the seed of an equivalent benefit these have yielded you through the passing of time.” The areas of life that we reflexively avoid looking at are some of the very places we should be looking for our hidden potential: adversities, defeats and failures. This week, I will be focusing on finding and unlocking potential that is locked up in our adversities.
Transformative Beliefs: Hidden Potential is Locked-Up in Our Adversities
Adversity is defined as “a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress.” What kind of potential can we find by looking into our adversities? I think that the most valuable area of potential we can tap into when we examine our adversities is our belief system. This ever-evolving kaleidoscope is the mechanism through which we see ourselves and the world. If we are aware enough, our adversities can reveal to us the beliefs that need to be corrected. Most people walk around in life sleep-walking, unaware of the emotions, beliefs, thoughts and habits that are controlling 95% of their lives. Correcting your belief system will unlock potential in your health, relationships and performance in two ways: (1) the number of situations you perceive as adversity will decrease; and (2) when you do experience an event that you interpret as an adversity, you will have a healthier response to it.
How many times have we seen physical symptoms after a long bout of stress? Back pain, headaches, fatigue or even worse. According to the American Institute of stress, between 75 and 90 percent of visits to primary care physicians result from stress-related disorders. Stress comes down to how we perceive events. If we change our beliefs and perceptions, the list of events that we see as stressful will get shorter and shorter. When this happens, even when we do face the events that ARE stressful to us, we will be able to handle them with much better clarity of thought. Our autonomic nervous system will have much greater resiliency to get us back in balance after our bouts with stress, thus keeping us from suffering the ill effects of chronic stress. Not only does addressing beliefs serve as a protection against and remedy for ill health, it is also essential for peak levels of general fitness and athletic performance.
Anyone who is in a relationship knows how stress wreaks havoc on a relationship. Stress on the job, with finances, children, etc. can easily find its way into our interaction with our significant other. But what happens when the stress is removed? All of a sudden, your relationship gets a lot better. Communication opens up, physical intimacy increases, habits of courtesy return and healthy habits form to strengthen and grow the relationship.
How would doing this help us unlock our potential in performance in our job, business or in our investing? Sometimes we don’t know what to do because our minds are filled with fear because of past adversities. Fear can be a good thing if it leads to action that will save us from true threats. However, most of our fears are based on faulty perceptions. The fear caused by our perceptions of past events keeps us from thinking clearly to set goals, make plans and execute. If we interpret our past adversities as events with no redeeming benefits, we will set goals to avoid similar events instead of setting goals to achieve what we desire. In effect, we are setting goals based on fear. This fear can also affect our planning process. The subconscious scripts and thought patterns that run because of negative interpretations from past events can prevent us from thinking clearly to discover the right plans for reaching our objectives. We can set plans to reach our goals, but if they are no good, all the hard work in the world will not bring success. Let’s say we have a goal. We have set our plan (be it a good one or a bad one). How does fear based on our perceptions impact our level of action? It has been said that the longest 12 inches in the world is the distance between our heart and our head. Much of the time, we know what is right in our head, but the belief system in our heart keeps us from executing. For this reason, when we address our belief system, we are tapping into the greatest wellspring of potential. As Dr. Alex Loyd says in his book, The Healing Code, “We always do what we believe, and everything we do, we do because of something we believe.” So, if we could “shorten that distance” between our heart and head by having a change in our perception of the situations that we label as “misfortune,” “calamity” and “distress,” by changing our beliefs, we will take much more action in reaching our objectives.
Addressing Limiting Beliefs About Adversity
It is in our adversities when we are able to see what we really believe about ourselves and the world at large. When the limiting beliefs that we hold are exposed, we are in a place to be able to address them. This is where we unlock our potential. Since it is clear that making healthy changes to our perceptions and beliefs unlocks potential in our health, relationships and performance, let’s talk about how to actually go about unlocking the power of transformative beliefs that are hidden in our adversities. When you learn how to do this, the list of experiences you can use as teachers instead of mental barriers will get longer and longer. The process is surprisingly simple (but not always easy).
As I mentioned earlier, we reflexively avoid looking at adversities. No one likes to look at the emotionally distressing times in their lives – whether it be from their childhood or last year’s layoff at work that left us without income for 6 months. This is a protective mechanism we all have. It is a reflex. So how do we manipulate something that is below our level of conscious awareness? In the same way when we are startled, we take in a deep gasp, our pupils dilate and our pulse elevates, we also subconsciously avoid thinking about adverse situations when we are reminded of it by some current events. How do we access the adversity in our minds in a way that allows us to examine it to “find the seed of equivalent benefit” since normally when we think of it, our minds go into stress mode?
In the book Transforming Stress, Doc Childre from The Institute of HeartMath provides numerous methods to “turn down” this reflexive stress response. These methods and others like them help us to think more clearly about our current and past adverse situations. A lot of it boils down to breathing deeply and slowly, and quieting the mind. When we are able to do this, we change the thought circuitry used when thinking about the situations. It is when we are in this state of mind that we are able to look at adversities and become conscious of the many benefits that we received from those same challenging situations. When we see the benefits of the situations, our belief about the situation changes. The adverse situation goes from being a trauma to a transformative event that brings growth.
Here are 5 simple steps to help you to unlock the potential
As I said, this process is very simple, but effective. The time you invest looking deeply into your adversities in a healthy way is sure to help you find and unlock potential you have never seen before. Not only will your perception of the adversity you are addressing change, but it will also change the way you see other challenges as they arise. The benefits I have reaped in my own life from this practice have transformed me in every area of my life. You will experience the same as you begin to look differently at your adversities.
Next week, I will talk about unlocking the hidden potential in your defeats. Be ready for a new paradigm!