Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Life
The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.69 years. From age 0-15, you are essentially doing nothing with yourself. High school begins at age 15 and ends at around 18. Here is the most important line in this entire blog post – what happens between the ages of 18-30 will dictate the quality of life for your remaining 48 plus years. That means you have a 12-year period to get your shit together. This crucial time in your life is defining. That’s why you should always set the bar high in life, at least when you are in your 20s. Your decisions during this time-frame will impact you in the following ways:
- Will you rent for most of your life or will you be able to own a home by the time you reach your 30s?
- Will you be able to attract the perfect spouse or will your partner be mediocre?
- Will each day of your life revolve around stressing over money or will your financial stability never be a thing to fret over?
- Will you be bland and uninteresting or become a person that is an influencer?
If you play your cards right, you will own a home, find the right partner to life, be loved by many, and minimize the stress associated with money. The only way to accomplish all of this is by setting the bar high in life. I’m going to break down how exactly that can be done. Let’s begin!
The Limit to Low Expectations
Picture the following scenario:
James has a real fear of contributing to casual conversations. When with friends, he thinks of a groundbreaking point to convey, but an internal dialogue ensues where he is convincing himself that what he has to say will not be received well. He believes that the idea he has in his mind is so inadequate he buries it completely.
This is the problem with having low expectations with yourself. When you keep your expectations to a minimum, there is only so much you can accomplish.
Here are some examples of what happens when you keep your sights too low:
- You end your education with an associates degree. Becoming a doctor is completely out of the picture due to your lack in education.
- You decide to not pursue a CPA. The accounting firm you work at limits the ceiling of your potential income because you aren’t certified.
- You plan to only jog two days per week. Any dream you had of running long distance marathons is out the window because of your lack in consistent and voluminous training.
When our expectations become so low, our income and accomplishment potential will reflect the low ceiling that we have created.
With my example above, James believed his messaging would be ridiculed. The result of not speaking up was zero acknowledgement, zero increase in respect, and zero seeds being sowed for future opportunities. As the famous Wayne Gretzky saying goes “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
The big problem with low expectations is the real threat of losing out on short and long-term opportunities.
The Potential of Dreaming Big
There is a pattern among people where they fear to dream big. They believe that if you dream big but don’t deliver, you will feel as though you are a failure. Dreaming big and dreaming unrealistically are two different things.
Here is an example of me dreaming unrealistically:
When I am driving through the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, there is a moment where you get a clear view of Manhattan. For me to look at the several skyscrapers and say “one day I will own one of those buildings” is completely unrealistic. The amount of generational wealth you need to purchase any of those towers is immense.
Now here is an example of me dreaming big:
This year I want to lose 10 pounds, write 20 new blog posts for theveganmindset.com, start a YouTube channel, make an extra $1,000 a month in income from my side hustles, and acquire 2,500 new subscribers to all of my social media channels. This is certainly dreaming big but nothing that I have just said is out of reach.
When you dream big, you are mapping out your potential. The biggest plus-side to dreaming big is what happens when you fail to meet your goals completely. Suppose within the next year I only lose 5 pounds, I make only $200 extra per month from my side income, and get only 500 new subscribers to all of my social media channels. Did I hit my wanted milestones? No. Did I keep progressing and accomplish more than if I had done absolutely nothing at all? Yes.
If you dream big and work on your goals consistently, progression will be made. This is already a milestone in itself. When you dream big and fall short, at least you can be happy that forward movement took place.
5 Ways to Keep Your Goals Attainable
Now that we know why dreaming big and setting the bar high in life is important, let’s create a system to reach your maximum potential.
Here are 5 ways to keep your goals grounded but large enough to hit leaps and bounds in your personal life.
Know your intellectual limitations
If you failed pre-calculus several times in high school and a few more times in college, you probably will never be a math teacher. Know what your limitations are. I personally suck at science and math. These are two subjects you need to know well to become a doctor. My decision to make it a goal to become a doctor, especially now that I am 30, is a horrible choice. There is a lot of resistance I will face on a pragmatic level. I am asking to fail.
It’s good to set the bar high but not to a point where you need a miracle for your accomplishment to be met. Keep common sense in play when you are exploring what your potential is.
Understand your financial position
Suppose your goal is to travel throughout all of Europe. That is a fine goal to have. The problem is this – you have two kids, a mortgage, alimony from a prior marriage, and a job that barely hits six figures a year. Financially, you are in no position to drop everything and head over to Prague for fun. Your dream is certainly not fair to those in your life that are dependent on you.
Be aware of your finances when you are setting your sights to a new accomplishment. Setting the bar high in life should be a moment in which you are improving your life and the lives of those around you. It should not be an exercise that brings turmoil, stress, and threatens your livelihood.
Avoid adding new debt
Getting ahead in life and exceeding your limitations is beyond commendable. But be mindful of the cost. Adding new debt is certainly a common route many new business owners and future academics take. The problem is biting off more than you can chew. Avoid all debt completely.
If you need a loan, make sure you understand what your future minimum payments will be. Ensure you will be able to easily keep your head above water. Setting the bar high in life is one thing. Setting your debt obligations high is an entirely other scenario that calls for less not more.
Make a realistic blueprint
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a classic self-help book. I can summarize the entirety of that book for you in one sentence – write down your goals. When your goals are materialized into writing, and you see what needs to be done on a physical plane such as a paper or Ipad, the goal you have in mind almost becomes attached to your being.
This sounds very esoteric but what Hill is trying to convey is this – make a detailed blueprint. If becoming a CPA is the bar that you set high in life, write down all of the classes you need to take, how many credits you need, where you would need to intern, and all of the other necessary steps to hit your mark.
Set a daily, weekly, and monthly checklist
There’s nothing more gratifying than completing something. When you set the bar high in life and decide to tackle a huge task, its good to have micro goals in place. Suppose you want to start a website that talks about the New York Knicks. Your micro goals would be as follows: write 50 pieces of content within a year, create a website, and increase your social media following. We can break down micro goals into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Each month, you should write 4 articles. On a weekly basis, that’s one new piece of content every 7 days. The website can be task you complete by the end of the month. The initial weeks task would be to seek out several website designers to interview.
Completing micro goals on a smaller more incremental basis will keep you motivated. Rome wasn’t built in one day. A sky scraper is created by putting up one brick at a time. Your personal goals should be treated as such. It’s not what you do within a year that matters but rather what you do each day and week.
Remember, from ages 18-30 you are given this small window of time to set up a foundation for the rest of your life. What you do in those 12 years can make the rest of your life extraordinarily difficult or relatively easy. The best way to approach that decade is by thinking about and setting the bar high in life.
Low expectations will result in a low ceiling. Your financial and personal opportunities have no room to grow or expand if you take that potential away by having low expectations.
Dreaming big may still result in failure, but even in that moment of not hitting your desired goal, you can still find yourself in a position where your partial accomplishments exceeded what would have been done if you did not even try at all.
If you will set the bar high, keep the following principles in mind:
- Know what your limitations are. Don’t aim for a goal that is completely out of touch with reality.
- Be mindful of your finances and obligations before setting up a goal to hit.
- Financial turmoil is not fun. Stay diligent and be monetarily responsible when trying to set a new bar in life.
- Make a detailed blue print of how you will achieve your goal.
- Set daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. When you accomplish even minute things on an incremental basis, it’s a step forward towards your ultimate goal and these minor victories will keep you motivated.
I hope you enjoyed our blog post on Why You Should Always Set The Bar High in Life!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.