There’s More to Life Than Potential — 019

Potential depreciates.

You never want to be that person with potential for too long. Eventually you just become mediocre with occasional flashes of brilliance. When you were a fresh talent, those flashes would elicit hope from others, but at this point they’re more disappointing than anything else. Potential depreciates in value over time. When we talk about people having potential and talent, we bring the conversation back to two key things:

  1. Putting the work in
  2. Understanding who you are and what level you’re at

Putting the work in is fairly obvious as this step has been drilled into almost everyone who exists and is required for almost anything that anyone wants to do. The thing is, when you have the necessary talent, you may not feel like you have to work as hard as others, but if you truly wish to be successful, you need to use your talent and work just as hard if not harder than your peers so you can far surpass them. It may not seem like encouraging this type of competition will do much, but in a world where in so many markets, the product is the same, you need differentiation; you need to be better.

Who you are and self-awareness in general is a huge recurring theme in both this project and in life. I visit these themes a lot because they’re universal for people’s lives. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a crucial part of self-awareness as knowing them lets you know where your potential lies and where you probably shouldn’t ever tread.

A lot of the reason for unfulfilled potential is arrogance. People hype you up and make you think that you’re doing well, but you should know that there’s always a higher mountain. If you grow complacent with your current state of being, firstly, you’re not reaching your limit, and second, the people who were originally below you will start to climb past, with you unable to budge. People grow complacent because they think they can get better at any time because it’s always been easy, but that’s not true because as people age, their potential depreciates. The problem with potential has always been this issue. Complacency creates endless disappointment for others and failed opportunities for the person with potential.

You can’t rely on potential and talent, if you’re capable of having talent, millions of others are too. The only differentiation between those with the same levels of talent is the amount of work they put in. Work so that your real level rivals your potential. Greatness comes with time, not pure talent.


There’s More to Life (TMTL) is a project surrounding our perception of life and how at times we can be short sighted in seeing what it has to offer. TMTL will be a daily post based on suggestions from comments and personal conversations. Every day is accompanied by a picture I shoot and you can see those in full, here.