Knowing Your Possibilities

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Knowing Your Possibilities | Dre BaldwinI work as a mentor to a group of middle school kids in South Florida. On the day of our first gathering, the question was posed of what each of them wanted to be as an adult.

Predictably half of the room was football and basketball players. We had a sanitation worker and the rest were doctors. The man running the group later explained to the kids that their narrow vision of what they wanted to be was limited by their narrow knowledge of what’s out there. And for 12 & 13 year old kids, it makes sense. They haven’t been anywhere and don’t know what they don’t know.

But how do we explain this habit in adults?

I talk to and hear from adults every day who don’t know their own possibilities. And Adults are much harder to get through to, what with 10-20-30 years of limiting beliefs hard wired into them. At least the kids are open to knowing that they don’t know it all.

For the most part, people live out their lives in direct proportion to the possibilities they can see — tangibly in front of them (20%), and mentally in their minds (980% — yes, nine-hundred and eighty percent). When you see many possibilities, your potential (which still requires action) grows. When you don’t see much you don’t become much.

Looking back on life and the people I grew up around — both older and in my age group — these words couldn’t be more accurate.

A lot of people are simply limited by the fact that they can’t see past their noses, or the next 24 hours, or their next payday. Lacking the vision, they never develop the discipline to work a plan that might take 5 or 10 years to come to fruition. They live by a set of rules that were created for a time that has passed, and handed to them by people who didn’t even know the harm they were doing. They never looked beyond what was in front of them — so they don’t even know what they don’t know.

That doesn’t make them dumb: I know many really smart and highly educated people who don’t know what’s possible for them.

Your aim is to be as mentally open as possible to what your possibilities could be. Physically, there is a lot that you haven’t seen and may never see. In your mind, though, you can see anything.

Just be willing to believe it’s possible.

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