Wow. Sometimes we can feel pounded by the events in our lives, but the good news is that we don’t have to stay there.
Have you ever been around someone who was down on themselves a lot? Made you not want to be around them, didn’t it? Have you ever beat up on yourself by thinking or saying negative things about yourself? Keep reading. Hopefully, this post will help you make that a thing of the past. Despite the traumas or losses you might endure, or times when you’re feeling down and hopeless, remember you always have your God-given potential—whether or not you’re using it.
In this blog, we’re going to talk about how to think positive about your potential. We’ll look at
- who or what influences your thinking and inner images
- how that happens
- who can change those images; and
- how to serve others with your potential
Who or What Influences Your Thinking
Before going any further, let’s define the word potential. I like what Wikipedia says, “Potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability.” While there are other ways they define potential, this one is what we’ll be talking about in this post. Think about the “unrecognized ability” you have. Remember how you used to think when you were little? How you wanted to do great things? What happened to that? What happened to your potential?
Well, from birth on up until now, you’ve been shaped by what you’ve heard and listened to, what you’ve watched or seen, and by who you’ve been around. Sometimes parents and relatives unknowingly say or do things that leave lasting impressions. But, then again, friends and strangers can do that too. Keep in mind that to go up higher than you are right now you need to get around people who inspire you. Makes sense, right? We learn a lot by hanging around other people. If they are grumpy, always sleeping, don’t want to work, are messy, and have no clue about the abilities they have, guess what your life might look like in the long run? Right. The same as that person’s life.
So if you want to achieve great things, get around people who are excited about life and who are doing the kind of great things that you’re interested in doing and you will reach your goals faster. Those individuals draw out the best in us and we walk away feeling glad to have been around them. Plus, we find ourselves reaching higher and pushing beyond what we think our abilities might be.
How We are Influenced
So who we’re around and who we listen to and read about truly does influence us. Think about this. After we’re born, we begin to be influenced by others around us. Then, when we head off to school as children, our lives begin to be influenced by other people beyond our families.
People other than our parents and siblings start telling us things about who we are and our abilities and capabilities, whether good or bad. Those other people may not think like we have been taught to think or do things the way we learned to do them. If we choose friends at school who are angry and bullying others or rebelling against parents, that could influence our lives in a very negative way for a long time to come. But if we choose friends who are happy, polite, and ambitious, and glad to help others, that can influence us in many positive ways. Those are the people who are trying to use their abilities in positive ways. You can read more about how we are influenced in my post, “Who is Influencing You?”
Suppose parents believe in what their children can accomplish, but a school teacher doesn’t see that kind of potential. The teacher may say that the child won’t make it through that school year with anything except low grades and that the child is destined to struggle throughout all the school years. Yes, that really could happen. In that case, the parents would have to work that much harder with the child to overcome the negative influences the teacher might be having on their child.
Fast forward to adulthood. Sometimes adults still hear those old negative words of abusive parents or non-affirming teachers, relatives, school friends, or former friends might have said years ago. Ouch! When that happens, guess what kind of work they might do? Maybe not very good work, because they have trouble believing in themselves, understanding that they have abilities, and don’t see that they have the potential to accomplish their dreams. I see this a lot with clients who have been through abuse—especially long-term abuse. They have to work extra hard at overcoming the negative words spoken over them to believe the good about themselves. It’s sad to see. It’s especially challenging for my clients with traumatic brain injuries and severe short-term memory loss. Depending on the brain injury, some can remember the negative words that are embedded in their long-term memories, but not the positive words that we have worked on in recent years that are stored in their short-term memories. It seems to take a lot of repetition for the new, positive words to start taking hold. That process takes time. At the same time, I’m also reminding them that they have great potential. They have abilities that they haven’t yet discovered and they were uniquely created to do something special with their gifts and talents. The same is true for each of us.
Who can Change Those Images and Thoughts
I believe that God made each of us with a special purpose in mind. But to find out what He says about us and why He created us takes developing a relationship with Him. That begins by reading the Bible and talking to God. Reading it we find out what God says about us and about the good plans He has for us. That’s how we can begin to change the past negative words spoken over us, and the negative images and thoughts we have about ourselves that resulted from traumatic experiences, losses, and negative things spoken over us.
There are a lot of positive psychology tools available to help you learn how to see life differently, but for me, the Bible is the source that has truly transformed my life from the inside out. As you read it and study it, the same is likely to be true for you. When you’re reading the Bible, keep in mind that after Jesus died on the cross to eliminate all of our sins–past, present, and future, a new covenant began with God. That’s the one we’re in now. That new covenant God has with us now is one about His Grace extended to us and His great Love for us. His grace is life-changing because He patiently teaches us His ways as He helps us see our potential the way He does—very positively!
How to Use Your Potential to Serve Others
As we read the Bible, we see how God worked through many men and women to accomplish great things. What great things does God want to do through you? Stay tuned. Keep in close contact with God and ask Him about the plans He has for your life. We all have skills, talents, and interests that can be used to serve others. How do you feel when you use your skills and talents to serve other people? If you’re not sure, then it’s time to find a way to plug into local schools, churches, social service organizations and see where you can serve others who need the skills, talents, and giftings that you have. Often when we use our potential and serve others more doors open for us to use our potential in even greater ways. So start thinking positive about your God-given potential, talk to God about what you can do to help others, and get out there and serve! It is very fulfilling when we use our potential to help others.
In this post, we’ve talked about who and what influences your thinking and inner images, how it can happen over the years, who can change those images; and how to serve others with your potential. The key to thinking positive about your potential is to be courageous, step out and take some action to help others in the ways that you can. You have unique gifts to help others. Try different ways of helping others and see what you enjoy the most. The more you serve others, the more ways you will find to use your potential and serve others.
I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on this topic about how you think positive about your potential and how you have used your potential to help others. Thank you for reading my blog!
Have fun using your potential!
Your Rebuilding Lives Coach,
16 thoughts on “Think Positive about Your Potential”
I’ve really enjoyed reading this article as you’ve provided us with tons of valuable information. From my experience, I tend to think that being positive is really important for you to succeed in whatever you want to pursue. Even if people around you provide you with negativity, use that negativity to drive yourself in achieving positive results. In other words, use that negativity as an energy source to pushing yourself every single day!
Thanks a lot for taking your precious time in writing this detailed blog post. Keep up the good work!
I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post! What I have fun doing is changing a negative environment to a positive one. Like you said, being positive really is part of succeeding in life. Some of us find it easier to use negativity to move forward in life than others do. I’m definitely one who does that and it sounds like you do too. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
The topic of negativity sure seems to come up a lot these days. I think that people get overwhelmed and can’t seem to get out of that negative rut that we can easily fall into. I totally agree with you, that you need to surround yourself with upbeat happy people.
In certain work places I have worked, the culture is very negative. It really affects how you feel when you have to go in everyday to a negative work place. Life is too short to not be happy.
Great job on the blog, it was a real help to give me a few tips to stay clear of that kind of culture.
Sometimes a job that looks and sounds great can take a sudden nosedive if managers are under pressure and start taking it out on employees. That creates an environment where employee morale drops and employees don’t want to go to work—like you said. I like how some companies now have chief happiness officers. Woohoo! All companies need that type of person for staff as well as for customers. I agree with you, like “is” too short not to be happy. A simple smile is contagious and it’s free to give. 🙂 Thank you for adding to the great comments on my site.
This is Avery nice content with a lot of useful tips and information. Serving God and humanity truly is a great thing to do to humanity. Truly, people that surrounds one really affects the kind of energy one radiates and the potentials that one fulfill. I was once a bully in high school because I moved with very big boys and we committed lot of Havocs and troubles yet I never felt it was bad to engage in all those things. When I left college and got into a community of colleagues with potentials aimed at helping other people, I then realised that its not all about showing you are the best that proves one to be the best. Its actually as a result of doing very little things to people to help them solve problems and get through challenges that actually proves one to be special.
mindset is the basis for anything we do and achieve and having a positive one would definitely bring positive actions to humanity. Thanks
It’s interesting how things turned around for you after some of the negative high school actions. Getting around positive people helps us feel better about ourselves. Being around negative people makes us feel bad. I work at being the kind of person that other people want to spend time with rather than run the other way or hide. I appreciate you taking time leave a thoughtful comment that shares a little about your life. Keep helping people solve their problems! That’s what my website is about. 🙂
Thankyou for taking the time to write this Colleen. I agree with the points you made and can see in myself why I am the way I am. My mother has always been very opinionated, but I see in her the struggle she had as a child with her own mother, who was very overbearing and permanently negative. I know my mother has tried to not be like her but some of it cannot help but stick. I knew with my son, that if I left him at the tennis academy in the UK near our home, that he would never reach the stars, they were negative and only accepted limited abilities, whereas I saw real talent and a focus that needed nurturing. I think you can guess who was right…. I really enjoyed reading your article, and I will strive to improve my positivity in myself and those around me. We are too quick to judge.
Thank you for a great comment! It sounds like you know exactly what I am talking about in my post. I think many of us have had negative influences early in life. My perspective is that people did the best they could based on what they knew at the time. We have to forgive them so we can effectively move forward. It’s so good to hear how supportive you are for your son and how you have gone above and beyond to find an environment in which he can thrive and excel. What a super Mom you are!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing about your lives. I wish both of you great success!
Hi Colleen, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Being positive about yourself is one of the important things in our life but definitely not an easy one. Just like you said, we all are created by God with some purpose and we need to discover it by communicating with Him. I already read the Bible and I can’t describe that feeling of satisfaction, I definitely recommend everyone to start reading as it will help greatly.
I’m glad my post was helpful. Sometimes there are big hurdles to overcome with our self-talk. But…reading the Bible is a good starting place to change our thinking. When we change our thinking for the better, we can then start changing our words for the better, so that we start seeing better results. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. 🙂 Enjoy the journey of discovering your purpose!
Hey Colleen… Awesome article! I have left you a comment on your website. I really enjoyed reading about positivity and how we turn out the way we do. Its an interesting thought that if we all decided that we would never be negative again, whether we would have a society that was happier, more productive and satisfied in themselves. I cant affect society as a whole but can with those around me and of course myself. I am very judgemental with myself, my weight, what people think of me but I do realise i am doing it and stop myself. A start with being positive. But I will try to be more thoughtful and less judgemental.
Imagine what our society would be like if everybody was positive and no more negativity existed. Whew! That would be amazing! Just think about all the things that would be created b/c of a constant positive society. While we may not experience that on earth, we can do as you said and start with being positive with ourselves and with those around us. Thank you for adding another great comment to my site!
Hello. i agree 100% with the fact that when you are surrounded by grumpy, boring people, you become like them (well maybe not so much if you are not associated but it does damage).
Well the Bible teaches a lot of lessons, but people teaching the Bible must first have their lives on a good direction. Else who will listen (and take you seriously).
God has created humans with a purpose, so people who say that some people are useless they are obviously missing a screw.
These people that say that(and many others) lead others to despair and depression and who knows what they will do next.
Glad to have found your article. Keep up the good work
Hi George… thank you for taking time to read my post and share your thoughts. We are all a work in progress for sure. It’s good to surround ourselves with people who will help us dream big and achieve our goals and who will be good role models who have done the things that we hope to do. Our role in a relationship like that is to be open and teachable, so we can learn as much as possible. Thank you for your kind words! 🙂
Hi Colleen. Great article! This brought back a couple of memories for me. I worked for a company selling two way radios (completely new to me so lots of training). My boss was a 30-year veteran and never encouraged me. I had trouble closing deals but I could make appointments and get my foot in the door which was way more important. He couldn’t see that. When we parted ways, I calmly told him it was for the best because he was the most negative boss I had ever worked with!
My other memory is of a very good friend who believed in turning positives into negatives. I remember one sales call she made and the person hung up on her! Cindy called right back and said “I’m sorry, we must have been cut off.” We still laugh to this day about that. She definitely was someone I wanted to be around!
Thanks again for sharing.
Hi Mary Ann…thank you for taking time to read my post and leave a comment. So good to hear that you left the negative boss. Negative people are just too draining to be around day after day. Your friend handled that hang up call beautifully! She would be fun to be around and to learn from given the opportunity. I def enjoy being around positive people b/c they are usually open to finding out-of-the-box solutions. Thank you for sharing your experiences on this topic. 🙂