Dear Mr. Potential,
I hope this meets you well.
The words you’re about to read are not in any way meant to spite you or demean your lofty dreams – far from it. Rather, I plead that you consider them the dispassionate thoughts of a friend; a friend who loves and genuinely believes in you.
So I hear you’re all excited about your ‘potential’. That’s a good thing. The joy of discovering the raw possibility of an awesome future could make any young man giddy. It could make you dance and laugh out loud in the secrecy of your room. It can fire you up and fix a spring in your steps as you bound into every new day with high hopes and steely confidence in your ability to get it done. It can stuff your mouth with heavy words and line your tongue with impressive phrases. It can extract admiring nods and affirming smiles from those privileged to hear you speak about your potential.
But that’s all it’s good for.
That’s its’ boundary.
It cannot cross over.
The next region, where boys with dreams graduate into men with accomplishments requires a different password. That circle of those who have not just seen or heard but have handled the things they speak of is exclusively for another league of gentlemen my dear brother.
It is for those who have pursued and apprehended the dreams in their heart. It is for those who woke up from their dreams, dressed up, showed up, gave all and simply didn’t give up.
In that region, they don’t talk ‘potentials’, they talk PURSUITS.
The discussions are not centered around each man telling what he can do. In fact, the decibel level is distinctively lower in this zone. That’s because the citizens of this country are so engrossed with what they are doing. The conversations revolve around refining actions and strategies, not rephrasing adjectives and sentences.
This, my dear Brother is your next class. Graduate!
I notice there’s an attractive young lady strolling along the perimeters of your life. Hmmm, that’s a beautiful thing. Trust me, I know. Budding romance can be titillating.
But Bro. Potential, you must know that just as you expect her to come into your life with more than a cute face and a nice shape, you must approach her domain with more than pretty promises.
I’ll wait while you read that again.
Oh yes brother. Just as you demand that she possess more than the externals, that there be some internal virtue, you must also step up and ensure you arrive with more than the internals. You must determine that your approach will be undergirded by authentic external proof of your acclaimed internal capabilities.
You’re demanding more than the externals from her. She deserves more than the internals from you as well!
Take heed how you hear, bro.
I know you’ve been inundated with ‘inspiring’ stories of men who showed up with nothing more than the ‘promise of potential’ (‘prospects’ they call it) and their lady bought in and today, ‘the story is different’.
Yes, those stories are true and I have nothing against them. Your pastor probably shared a few with you. Maybe he got married with just two pairs of trousers and a pair of worn out shoes; but he had a ‘great vision’. She saw it, was convinced and today, she’s enjoying the benefits of that decision. It’s a powerful narrative I admit.
But my fear is that you may start confusing yourself with your pastor and more dangerously, assume that your (though she ain’t really yours yet) gorgeous young lady is your pastor’s wife.
BREAKING NEWS!!! She’s not!
I also fear you may not get to hear the gruelling times they had to share in the days when potential was just potential. In listening to the testimonies, you may have been shielded from hearing about the tests. Trust me, there were tests.
But since you did not hear (all of) the tests, how can you tell she is ready to go through same with you?
“Oh if she’s not ready, then she’s not the one!”, you bark.
Oh really, Sir? Are you sure you’re not being naïve? Are you aware that we don’t all possess the same tolerance level for hardness?
Do you recognise that just because she isn’t ready to drink garri for two straight months doesn’t mean she’s a bad person or not the one for you?
Could it be that her threshold for absorbing discomfort is just far lower than yours and that in itself is not a sufficient test of her true character? I’m only asking questions Bro, only prodding your mind to contemplate these possibilities.
Oh yes you have potential; and loads of it too. Guess what? So does every other Tim, Don and Henry. Get over it already.
Like I said at the opening of this letter, I thoroughly believe in you dear brother. But it’s time to graduate from the days of celebrating potentials to the era of commanding performance. I love you with all my heart.
From your brother, your friend.
Live by Design.