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How to Expand Human Potential to Find More Meaning in Your Life

When we expand our potential, we cultivate the meaning and purpose we’ve always longed for.



how to expand your potential
Image Credit: Midjourney

Human potential, what we’re emotionally capable of, is infinite.

The only restrictions to expanding into more and more of our potential are self-imposed. They’re imaginary boundaries constructed by our minds. 

Often, these boundaries are beautifully crafted machinations of our imagination that feel utterly true and impenetrable. 

The Role of Self-Image in Unlocking Potential

Expanding into our potential is a function of:

  • Our self-image
  • Our level of self-trust
  • Our level of self-worth
  • Our level of self-efficacy

Our willingness to question, explore, and travel beyond our imaginary boundaries. 

Our potential isn’t something “out there” we chase and catch; it resides within and is something we can expand into. 

Nor does it require a herculean effort.

Facing Challenges: A Gateway to Transformation

When we face a challenge, regardless of its size and regardless of the outcome, we’ve evolved into someone new.

Because when we face a challenge, we’re walking directly into one of our personal edges (the imaginary boundaries).

An edge is an opportunity to walk away, to capitulate to fear and self-doubt, and, conversely, to move towards our fears and self-doubt. 

When we capitulate, we diminish. 

When we move forward, we expand. 

When we move towards, face, and emerge on the other side of a challenge, we’ve transformed into the individual who’s done the thing that seconds ago challenged us not to do the thing. 

This is a moment that can go to waste, or it can be leveraged to create the extraordinary. 

If we want to create the lives we dream of, we can’t allow ourselves to diminish these moments, as can be our tendency, due to more of our imaginary boundaries.  

We’re conditioned to stand in the shadows of our successes because to celebrate them is “cocky” or arrogant.

Our celebration needn’t be external, but it most certainly must be internal. 

We must celebrate ourselves and stand in our power, embracing that acknowledging ourselves is neither cocky nor arrogant. 

Plus, when we do this, we release the pleasure hormone dopamine, therefore training our minds to want to face more challenges, creating a powerful cycle. 

So when we face and emerge through challenges, we create a new iteration of ourselves and unlock a new existence.

Within that new existence are opportunities and possibilities that weren’t available to us before. 

The opportunities and possibilities were always there; they just weren’t available to us mentally and emotionally. 

It becomes a choice, and perhaps one of the most important choices of our lives, to seize those new opportunities and possibilities.

This will require us to create a new iteration of ourselves again, and the cycle continues.

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world”. – Dalai Lama

Hence, our human potential is infinite.

One may think the next obvious question is, “How?” 

How do we expand into our infinite potential? What are the steps we must take?

How is critically important, but “Why?” creates the fuel to consistently face challenges and expand our lives. 

The “Why?” varies from person to person, but I believe the root of the “Why?” is universal.

As part of our shared human experience, we desire meaning. 

We want our lives to have meaning and purpose. It’s inherent to us and a part of us the way our hair is, whatever color it is. 

We don’t create meaningful lives by remaining in our status quo; we create meaningful lives by going within and understanding who we truly are and who we want to be. 

Crafting Your Personal Operating System

One of the ways we do this is by creating our own personal operating system.

There are three components to our own personal operating system:

Our core values, principles, and mantra for life. 

Core Values: These are our Northstar.

Principles: These are the basic tenets we abide by for how we want to show up in the world.

Mantra: This single sentence captures the essence of how you want to live and how you show up. 

What do we stand for, and what governs our decisions and choices. Because our lives are the aggregate of our decisions and choices (see above).

Life becomes crystal clear when we establish and embody our personal operating system.

Our priorities change, and we make more expansive choices.

Our “Why?” and our “How?” become interwoven

Through this interweaving, we find the strength to continually expand into our potential. 

When we expand our potential, we cultivate the meaning and purpose we’ve always longed for. 

Craig Stanland is a Reinvention Architect & Mindset Coach, TEDx & Keynote Speaker, and the Best-Selling Author of "Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison." He specializes in working with high-achievers who've chased success, money, and status in their 1st half, only to find a success-sized hole in their lives. He helps them tap into their full potential, break free from autopilot, draft a new life blueprint, and connect with their Life's Mission so they can create their extraordinary 2nd half with purpose, meaning and fulfillment. Connect with him here

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