The Startup
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How To Trigger Your Potential Through Others

It’s not you, it’s them

When I moved to another city after high school, something changed within me. When I — in addition — started to surround myself with new, energetic people, I felt an even greater change. I felt as if I were free from all the restraints of my previous surroundings.

I slowly started to become a new person. I had triggered something within.

You’re a social creature

“We are born above all for the sake of each other.” — Marcus Aurelius

The human world is social, and your body and mind knows it. You’re wired for social interaction. In fact, most of the human emotional systems require social interaction in order to activate.

Our bodies and our cognition, are fine-tuned towards others. Thus, it matters whom we spend time with.

The environment is stronger than you think

The first step towards triggering any potential is to clean up your current environment. You can’t expect to fly if you’re wrapped in steel chains.

As Benjamin P. Hardy consistently writes about, the environment is stronger than your willpower. It influences you, shapes you personality and affects everything you do. And of everything that’s in the environment, the people inhabiting it is by far the strongest influencer. Again, it matters whom you spend time with.

“We, as people, are shaped by what is outside of us. We like to believe we are the masters of our fate. But our situation and environment are far more powerful.” — Benjamin P. Hardy

The easiest, most effective way of cleaning up the whole environment, is to get yourself to another place. E.g., moving to another location.

A new geographical location will open up new possibilities for your mind. Where there’s new people, there’s no previous annotations of who you were. The parts you’re insecure about, simply doesn’t exist in anyone’s minds. You are free to be more than your previous self.

This is not only true at the logical level, but there’s a deep evolutionary element to this as well. Picture a prehistorical human, living in a small community. If he or she made some unfortunate mistake, the whole community would come to know about it — and perhaps even start to avoid him or her. A solution for that prehistorical human would be to abandon the tribe, and look for new, unfamiliar people — where his or her mistakes weren’t known.

Abandoning the tribe might have been hard to do in prehistorical times, due to the issue of survival. Now, however, we’re all so connected and moving has become incredibly much easier. Taking advantage of this psychogeographical effect can be an important step towards a higher potential.

I acknowledge that moving to a new location may not be possible for everyone, but luckily, other things work as well.

  • If there’s no possibilities of moving, surrounding yourself with different people is the answer. If there’s anyone within your area that’s unfamiliar, try interacting with them.
  • Get rid of the toxic people. If there’s anyone dragging you down, you simply cannot reach your highest potential. Get rid of them. There’s no way around it.
  • While face-to-face interactions are the strongest, there’s still a slight effect to gain over the internet. Here, you can pick and choose, and interact with whomever you like. Choose wisely.

The zone of proximal development

“Through others we become ourselves.” — Lev Vygotsky

While getting rid of a toxic environment, and surrounding yourself with new people is great, making sure the new people are someone worth spending time with is perhaps even more crucial.

You have to find someone who has the right energy, the right character, and the right tools for you. Ideally, find someone slightly beyond your level.

Psychologist Lev Vygotsky conceptualized a model of how social interactions between experienced members of the world, and less experienced members of the world led to development. He called it the zone of proximal development.

You see, there’s a difference between your actual level of development, as determined by your own independent behaviors, and your potential level of development, as determined through behaviors in collaboration with others.

If you choose to spend time with someone that’s slightly better than you, it will trigger your potential.

Working beyond your current level, heightens the potential of your own abilities. Start to surround yourself with people who are better and more experienced than you are. It will change you.

With the proper support — and through guidance of others — you’ll have a possibility of eventually reaching mastery. When you’re encouraged to operate at their level of ability, you’re likely to end up adapting to it. You’ll soon be at, or near their level.

Although you may not find that everyone is at a higher level than you, spending time with like-minded, energetic people, is undoubtedly worth your time. You can choose to grow together. And remember, the words of Jim Rohn:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Wrap up

If you want to reach a higher potential, start by cleaning your environment. Get rid of the toxic people, and find new and better people to spend your time with. Find someone who pushes you, and someone to grow with.

Operate beyond what you’re capable of, improve your skillset and grow. It’s time to explore what you’re capable of. Trigger your potential.

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