The Truth Behind Potential

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Potential. Latent excellence or ability. But what is it really? How much you know? A number? A figure? A grade point average? Three A’s and four B’s? 1.09 higher than Joe’s and 0.67 lower than Sue’s? That was the impression I always had.
In school, you learn lessons necessary to pass a test. These lessons are taught to you step by step, and geared towards an examination that is scheduled for a certain time and date. The grade you get on the test is recorded, and that is how your potential is calculated.
In life, you take tests necessary to learn lessons. Every test throughout life is a challenge that must be overcome, and with every challenge something new is discovered. In my opinion, the foundations of true success are built on the knowledge one has gained through their life challenges. The ability to acquire this knowledge can be defined as potential.
Although the estimation of potential is virtually opposite in both life and school, the key underlying factor of it is very similar in both areas. During school, failing a test is devastating. The information was clearly presented, yet one was not motivated enough to take initiative and understand it. They are viewed as a horribly incapable and inept person, and it is assumed that they will never succeed or amount to anything. However, a completely opposite conclusion can be made from the failure of overcoming an obstacle in a life situation. The outcome of the test, which is either positive or negative, is used to determine the lesson that is applied to life. The possible lessons are always of equal benefit, which makes success no better than failure. The lessons one learn in this way are what makes people who they are. They are what govern the success of a person’s future and they can only be learned if one has the willpower to discover them, much like the willpower to learn material in an academic exam. Therefore, although the situations in school and in life are completely opposite, determination is the key to succeeding in both.
This is why I believe that potential is determination. Tests will always be the same. They will be given inevitably, in a definite form, and will always contain the same questions and the same answers. Learning is the only true variable in life, and what you learn is determined by your willpower, or determination. Even when success is measured in testing, the outcome of the test is never what your aptitude truly is. If one has the same determination, that outcome will continue to be constant. The only thing that can change it is a driving willpower, and that is why it is the one thing that can truly be defined as potential.
Success is directly parallel to willpower. Willpower governs what is learned, how much is learned, and how it all applies to life. Without these three things, success is impossible. To succeed you do not have to have straight record of 4.0’s all throughout high school. You do not have to pass every challenge you come across. You do not have to make a perfect choice every time. You only need to have a strong desire to learn from your mistakes and move on towards your goals. In life, failure is equal to success, as long as the same extent of learning is derived from both.
After all, “mistake” is only another word for “progress”.





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Liozay123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm
This is the best article I have read so far today.  It is amazing.  Keep up the great work.
 
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