I was having a debate with my wife this week about whether you can exceed your potential or not. Her opinion was quite fixed in that it is impossible to exceed your potential, because, in her view, your potential is the endpoint. As always, my wife is always right, but in this case not completely!
In this week’s blog, I would like to explore potential, in context with our health potential, and would like to seed the idea that no matter where you are right now, even if you have set goals, you might be shooting too low. And far greater health than you could ever imagine might be within your grasp.
The dictionary defines potential as:
- having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.
- latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
Let me arrive at potential or the idea of restricting potential from a different angle. Now, this might surprise you, but I am not a big believer in distant goal setting. For many years as I was building my companies; bankers, accountants, and journalists would constantly ask me what my end goal was. Some were shocked and many just didn’t believe me, when I told them that I never had a long-term goal, instead preferring to focus on ongoing improvements, bit by bit, day by day. I never looked too far out, but instead focused on something I labelled CPI – Continuous Performance Improvements. I even created an internal manual, for our team focusing on trying to improve a little, day by day. And boy did it work, we became the UK’s number one fastest-growing privately owned company.
Think about goals in another way. In a football match, both teams train all week with the goal to win the match, but only one can. One loses. Both had the same goal. Even more, think of the football premiership, most teams set the goal to win it, but only one can be crowned champion. The rest fail to reach their goal and the disappointment of failure often leaves a mark, having a knock-on detrimental effect on future campaigns.
Plus, if you do set goals, once you reach your goal, often you celebrate and that’s it. For people who set a goal of a target weight, as soon as they hit it, most put the weight straight back on.
I am not saying don’t set goals, if that works for you fine, we are all different, but for others forget about goals, focus on the system, on small gains.
The other reason I don’t like goals is that goals can be too restrictive, If I had set goals in business, I would never have built the size of companies that I did. When I was obese, if I had set a weight-loss goal, I would probably still be a lot heavier than where I am today. In many ways, goals can truly restrict your potential. But daily incremental gains, bit by bit, step by step, can help you massively over-achieve on what today you might see as your potential.
What would you chose if I said “I will give you £5 million right now or I will give you 2 pence today and double it every day this month”. Let’s say you decided to take the gamble and go with what sounds like a crazy idea of starting with 2 pence. After a week, you would be sweating buckets, because you would only have £1.28, and even after 2 weeks, still less than £200. What a big mistake you might be thinking. But, those little gains get bigger and bigger and if you wait the entire month (assuming it has 31 days), you end up with over £10 million!! Yes, the small increments were by far the wiser choice. It is the same in life too. Often small positive changes to your diet, lifestyle, and environment, that somehow feel trivial and unimportant at first, may compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them.
Nobody is perfect and life certainly never is. Even if you deviate from your journey occasionally, fall off the rails for a day or two, if you get back to the path fairly promptly, then the improvements can continue. The trouble with a goal-oriented approach, often when things go wrong because you have effectively failed at the goal, you give up. Game over; might as well go back to the way we were before.
Goals aren’t necessarily useless, they are good for setting direction, but it is the journey that gets you to your destination. Goals can also seem so far away, that you lose hope. If you want to set goals, set mini ones, tiny ones that you achieve quickly, then set another, and then another. Try not to just make them about weight. The problem with weight is that it’s a number and numbers are processed in the intelligent brain and not the emotional brain. We need goals and achievements to please both your emotional and your rational brain. If you do set goals, rather than the goal to be a number, like weight, 3kg less on scales, or fit into a size 10 dress, set more emotional goals. Maybe it is to wake up feeling lively, going for a walk several times in the week. Walking up the stairs without losing your breath or totally avoiding sugar for the week.
You see – if you set goals and then achieve them, they only positively change your life for that one minute, that one day. Goals restrict your happiness to a very short period. You're only happy when you reach that goal. Goals are too black and white, you either reach it and you are happy for a moment, or you are sad, unhappy, deflated.
Happiness is the key to life, not just for the fleeting moment that you reach a number on the bathroom scales, an artificial goal, but throughout life, throughout your journey. I want you to be happy with the progress you make, with the system, find happiness in the journey, if you hit milestones, sure be happy with them, but ongoing progress, no matter how small, is what we need to celebrate.
Goals are what cause yo-yo dieting. When you focus on a particular weight, once you achieve it, you have reached your goal. But then the motivation disappears, and its game over, back comes the weight and you revert back to old habits.
Goals can consume you for better or worse. You might set your goal too high and feel bad that you haven’t arrived there yet or set the bar too low and not achieve your true potential (let alone exceed it). Numbers, measurements, weights etc are merely feedback to your overall system.
And always remember if you want to lose weight, the bathroom scales can lie because of how much water retention you have, how you slept etc, it can also take time to gain momentum, that’s why it’s the system that is important. I am not saying don’t weigh yourself. But make sure if you do, it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s just an indication of progress only and not a destination.
Let’s get back to exceeding your potential. Yes, some goals can be empowering, but others are limiting. Some goals limit your true potential, will prevent you from exceeding what you currently believe you can achieve.
What if your current beliefs about your health potential are boxing you in? What if it has been created by corporate greed, marketing, and brainwashing, making you believe that you need certain products or need to live a certain way. What if the ingredients in your food are holding you back, or the chemicals in your deodorant are limiting your potential? What would happen if you stuck two fingers up to the corporate world and tried, little by little to live more primally?
What you believe your potential is, may be restricting your potential. What if you were like the author of the Bulletproof Diet, Dave Asprey, and aim to live healthily till you reach 180 years old and then started to make incremental positive steps with that destination in mind. And David is not alone, there is now a handful of scientists who study the human body on a cellular level, who believe we are not far off gaining a better understanding of aging, that might see future generations exceed 200 years old.
Potential starts with self-belief. Sadly, for a lot of people, their beliefs are limited and ingrained during childhood. Some beliefs are also affected by demographics, environment, and education.
When we focus on the continual improvement method, I believe for most people their true health potential is far greater than their current expectations.
There was a great American author who I used to listen to all of his motivational tapes called Earl Nightingale who said, “We become what we think about”. Therefore, don’t let the world around you and what you currently view as old age limit your true potential.
There are so many possibilities that we are not aware of, possibilities that haven’t yet been discovered or understood, or that are being suppressed across society, that if you focus on the continual improvement method in your diet and lifestyle, your potential is endless.
Don’t get boxed in by the walls and framework of modern living and even if my wife is right and I am wrong, just the placebo effect alone, might be enough for you to exceed your potential.
What Made Me Happy This Week
I spent two days with my good friend and awesome chef Emma Porter and we created some wonderful recipes with Fibreydrate (zero carb pasta and flour). Emma is a type 1 diabetic and she described Fibrehydrates as a “Game changer for people who have diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
Recipe of the week
Did you know there’s a Primal Living App that’s jam-packed with awesome Primal recipes? There are hundreds of recipes that you will love including some amazing Fibrehydrate recipes. Download the Primal Living app today. Search ‘Primal Living’ on the App Store or Play Store.
Customer Comment of the week
This is from Lynday who bought our Sleep Naturally tablets for her husband.
“My husband has been taking the tablets to help him relax to sleep better, they have been very good on the hole, they seem better than others on the market and don’t make him feel bad in the morning so he will keep taking them”.
Primal Living Latest Performance
We are passionate to create the very best health products on the planet. Many thanks to everyone who kindly took the time to submit a review this week; here are your latest statistics.