It would be a real shame if you went to all the trouble to get sober yet still settled for a life that is well below your potential. It is not that you need to achieve certain things in order to be considered successful, but it is important that you feel satisfied and fulfilled in life. To say that somebody is living below his or her potential is not about judging them negatively; the only reason it is a concern for those in recovery is that it can lead to great unhappiness.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow believed that humans had certain needs they needed to fulfil if they wanted to experience a good level of inner contentment. As well as the basic needs like food, security, and shelter, people also need to achieve actualisation – this is the same as saying they need to reach their potential. If you are not moving towards this goal, it can mean that you feel unfulfilled, which could become a source of unhappiness in your recovery.
Here are just six signs that you may be living below your potential:
If you have to drag yourself out of bed each morning, it usually means that your life is unsatisfying. One of the things about successful people is they usually hop out of bed each morning due to being excited about the day ahead – billionaire Warren Buffett often describes how he dances into work. If you prefer sleeping to your waking life then at the very least you are living below your potential, or it could even mean that you are suffering from depression.
If you wander aimlessly through life, you should not be too surprised if you never end up anywhere you want to be. It is not that the goals themselves are that important, it is more about the need to have something to aim for. These targets can give your life a bit of structure, which means you are always moving in the general direction of where you want to go. The problem with being aimless in life is that you can move around a lot, wasting a lot of energy, but never getting anywhere. It is also important that any goals you set are clear so you know exactly where you need to go.
Schadenfreude is a German word that means getting enjoyment out of watching others fail. The most common reason why people engage in this type of negativity is that it can make them feel better about their own lack of success. If you can find someone who is doing worse than you are then it means you can feel superior to him or her. The problem with Schadenfruede is it is an incredibly hollow type of happiness and is a sign you have lost your way in life; you will enjoy life more if you start focusing on achieving your own successes.
Every person who ever achieved anything had an excuse for why they would fail – the difference is that these people did not allow these excuses to stop them reaching their goal. If you are always making excuses for your lack of achievement then it suggests that you are off-track. Instead of wasting energy explaining why you cannot do something, use this energy to get it done.
The great thing about passion is that it takes most of the effort out of getting stuff done. If you have a job that you love, it will never feel like work; you might do it anyway even if you were not being paid. Most people are not lucky enough to be doing the job of their dreams, but it is possible to become passionate about almost anything. If you have little in your life to feel passionate about, it is another sign you are living below your potential.
There is nothing wrong with watching a bit of TV but, if this is your main pastime, it could indicate you are off-track in life. The problem with television is that so much of it is just mindless, meaning you forget what you watched as soon as the show has ended. It is almost certain that you would be able to make better use of this time.