“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”. – Winston Churchill
Plenty of motivational words have been blathered about “Living up to your potential.” It’s almost abstract at this point. Perhaps the above quote from the brilliant and witty Winston Churchill may be an exception.
We serfs often get used to a daily routine – one that’s very comfortable. While we bounce between loving and hating it depending on whether we are enjoying life, we don’t want to quite upset that balance.
It’s why we settle for the status quo, both on a very individual scale when we are grinding out our day jobs, and simply want to relax when we get home. Living up to your potential is hard. That continuous effort… well, I really want a beer and to Netflix and chill with my wife instead.
Of all of the above, I’m guilty.
I work a job with commission opportunities with a low base hourly rate of 9$ an hour. Often, they are happy that you just show up, because so many people don’t when it comes to call centers.
I’ve lasted over 9 months at my job – which is apparently great when you look at turn over rates for call centers. Still everyday I’m at the edge of quitting and walking off.
Because I have a family to provide for, I can’t do that. However instead of applying to new jobs, I just lay back at home when I get off and relax. It’s easy. I want to unwind.
The next morning, I wake up and curse having to get ready to go back to a job I often hate. I’m my own worst enemy, a glutton for the punishment of a comfortable routine. I’m my own worst enemy.
I actually like my co-workers and both of the managers I’ve had. I just can’t chance not making commission during checks when my family is desperate for money.
Based on that alone, I should have already gotten another job. But this one is easy. I know the systems, the unwritten rules, what flies and what doesn’t – all of which take a few months to learn. I don’t want to start over and get… uncomfortable. Anxious. Unsure of exactly what the expectations will be.
Clearly, I’m hindering my own potential. I’m comfortable in my job routine while hating and loving it every day. I know so many other people who are afflicted in this same devious manner. But we are too lazy and “comfortable” to do anything about it.
We bitch about the status quo, but content ourselves in it’s comforts. I talk big and loud, but my stick is very small.
This all comes down to willpower. An honest thorough self-reflection would indicate that I’m lacking that department, or that I pick and choose. If it’s easy, I’ll leave that comfort zone, but if it’s hard I’ll certainly stay. Of course this means that my motivation will be lacking as well.
Quintus Curtius calls this Transformative Mental Change when he talks about the Foundations Of Motivation and that its needed if you want to make a step in the right direction harnessing that willpower – or at least building it.
“This source of motivation comes from an internal decision that we make. We consciously decide that we want to improve ourselves. We consciously decide that we want to begin the process of forward movement. At some point, we become tired of the old patterns and wish for a change. We wish to push ourselves into new vistas and regions of exploration. And before we do this, we make a decision.”
You would think having a family to provide for would give me that mental tazing and wake me from my lackadaisical slumber, but it hasn’t yet. That desire to do more – still lacking. Have to buckle up. I wonder if it’s an aspect of maturity that I still have to attain – a level of responsibility that has to be shouldered.
The appreciation isn’t seen right away, but the fruit will be seen in full later. Perhaps I’m too much a creature of immediate satisfaction, rather then a player of the long game. Again it’s another part of living up to Potential. You want to be all you can be.
If one really wants it, they will grab it without excuse. In a world where excuses are rewarded, I suspect this is why it takes people a long time to finally leave their comfort zone. Why would they? If they live off the government dole, there is no incentive. If they live at home and can still have their girlfriends overnight, why bother striving to better themselves?
Then again, if the system is rigged – getting that dollar too much in the next tax category, it may be a symptom of our society in general where the hardest working end up being the most penalized. This is not an excuse, but an observation.
This is not a call to be someone else, it’s a call to be the best I can be. We take a lot for granted – specifically our continued and assured situations. We never know if calamity, death, joblessness, the loss of transportation could send us to the streets. It’s almost as if we are living paycheck to paycheck.
An assured, prosperous, and at the very least – safe – future should be planned. That planning and needed drive have to be used at some point. Sooner rather than later.