Discovering latent potential

As a child I always admired the skill and ability of people doing what seemed to come so naturally to them. I was intrigued by members of the school gymnastics team. I was fascinated by their ability to do a somersault or a series of hand springs across the floor. As soon as I could, I joined the group but for a long time I was unable to reproduce the essential spring and timing necessary to make any of my somersaults successful. I watched closely as the others went through their routines. I loved being with people who could do all these exercises so well and deeply wanted to be able to do the same.  I was fully confident and believed, that I had this ability. Nothing would deter me. failure was not a thought. Pain was not a deterrent.

One evening after school, after what I recall as months of attempts, suddenly it was there. A flick of my legs at just the right time and; success. From lying still on my back on the ground, I could find that essential kick at the right time, spring into the air and land solidly on my feet, what a great feeling. Immediately I could do all the different vaults and tumbles which I admired in others.

I am sure that to any observer in those early days my performance was pitiful but I did grow to be a member of the team and above all, I enjoyed it so much.

I had the inexplicable inner drive, urge, perhaps best described as a need – it is hard  for me to find the correct word to express how I felt. I also believed deep inside of me that I had the ability to do these things. Then, wow, I could do it. The great feeling of self-discovery and success. We all have the latent ability to do great things. Some people have a greater hunger than others to discover and develop whatever that talent is.

My success at gymnastics did not come quickly.  It required all the necessary elements of striving. I needed to be fit and not overweight, for a child this was not difficult but it still took determination. Boundless energy and my determination easily kept me fi. The effort of learning was a pleasure but it was not without frustration.

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There was some pain; perhaps a lot of pain. I still recall some dangerous falls. Gymnastics is like that unless one is very lucky. I still shudder when I watch young girl gymnasts perform all the disciplines on a bar and wonder how often they must have painfully fallen before they perfected their amazing skill.

I do not do gymnastics any more. I would probably break my wrists if I tried.

The drive for success is deep and powerful. It is as natural as the drive for self-protection. There is no doubt that everyone can build a similarly drive to express their talents. But how do you find your niche?

There is a free guide at the top right hand side of the page beside this article.

Success requires fitness and practice and determination and, often, pain. It is not a talent in itself. It is the inner power and the ability to express a talent or many talents. Success brings a fantastic reward in the amazing feeling. That is natures way of telling us we are on the right path having given us this essential drive so that we can be the very best possible version of a human being.

We are born with intelligence to learn to manage our instincts. Success is an instinct. We can learn how best to develop it. One of the many inspirational things of watching a child grow is how they say, ‘no, let me, I can do it’. At what point does a child learn the word failure and feel defeated by it? They just keep trying, leave it for a while and come back to it.

For most of us the great pleasure of being alive is to be successful at what we enjoy and can be good at. How many things could you be successful at if you renew the confidence of a child and know that you cannot fail.

self-confidence, self-belief and above all associating with like-minded people are essential components.

Read my new book The Mind Diet

Also published on Medium.