Scientists and mystics agree that we are each blessed with tremendous potential.
This means that we possess an awesome capacity for developing ourselves. At times, this awareness may be frustrating, knowing that we are so capable yet somehow stuck in a place that does not give us the satisfaction we are seeking.
In order to access our inner treasure, we need to recognize and release the five locks that keep this treasure confined.
Lock 1: Lack of clarity
Despite our natural strengths as our greatest resources, few of us are clear about the nature of the specific strengths that we possess. Considering that they are the paramount tools that we have been given to make our mark in this world, this is tragic. Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz (the spiritual leader of the Mir Yeshiva in Poland (1873-1936), expressed this when he said:
Woe unto he who does not know his weaknesses, but woe and woe unto he who does not know his strengths, for even the tools that he possesses to lift himself up with, he does not know.
Let us then attempt to identify our strengths.
There are four clues that can help us do this:
a) What pulls us? The 11th century Spanish philosopher Rabbi Bahya ibn Paquda (author of Duties of the Heart) taught that we each are blessed with a natural proclivity towards those things that are best suited to us. The Talmud likewise teaches that we should study what we are interested in, that which we desire to learn, because our interests will motivate us, thereby making our learning most successful. We need to tune into what pulls us.
b) What fills us? When we engage in an activity that matches who we are, there is a natural positive feedback loop, an inner feeling of “Yeah! That was great. I want to do that again sometime.” It is the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing a task that involved effort, concentration and some level of challenge. We need to notice which activities provide this kind of satisfaction.
c) What occupies us? When we find some activity that provides a good channel to release our natural resources, it will begin to occupy our minds. We suddenly find ourselves thinking about this activity from different angles, dreaming about it during the workday. Take notice of this because our brains are telling us something.
d) Where are our growth spots? Some activities nurture us better. When we find ourselves catching onto something quickly, deeply engaging in the activity and making adaptations naturally – recognize and embrace it. Areas in which we naturally experience a quicker pace of growth tell us a lot about where our potential lies.
Lock 2: Lack of planning
Without a plan we do not have a target to direct our strengths. A good plan provides Read the rest of this entry »