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What Is Our Potential?

by Chaim Kramer

Everyone has potential. Enormous potential. When we develop our potential, we can transform it into great deeds and accomplishments. We can live a life of contentment. Our days will be filled with  substance. Work, leisure time and all our daily routines can take on meaningful expression.

What exactly is our potential?

Potential is a unique energy granted to each and every person by God Himself, and it resides within each person’s unique soul. We can better understand this idea from the verse (Genesis 2:7), “And He breathed into him a breath of life.” That is, when God breathed into Adam his soul, He was breathing into man His limitless power and energy. As the noted Kabbalist, the ARI (1534-1572), explains, “When God exhales, He ‘exhales’ from His innermost being. Furthermore, once this breath is breathed into man, it cannot be severed from Him” (Etz Chaim, p. 68; see Innerspace, p. 17; Anatomy of the Soul, pp. 30-31). Thus, man is a vessel that contains God’s breath of life, and he retains a direct connection to the Infinite God. As a vessel, he can definitely reflect that “breath”—that is, the energy it contains. In this way, man is a personal repository of enormous, near-infinite potential.

The reason we are not fully aware of our potential is due to its depth. Our potential is linked directly to God, but like God, Who is not readily apparent, our potential also is not readily apparent. Were we only to look inward to evaluate what strengths we possess, and review our lives to see where we’ve come from and how we accomplished what we did until now, we could begin to recognize a bit of that potential. Usually people don’t really know what their potential is or how powerful it can be until they are faced with a challenge. Then they somehow discover enormous strengths or resources with which to confront and conquer difficult or even impossible situations. People undertake daring rescue efforts or act in completely uncharacteristic ways when put to the test. At those moments, they are tapping those awesome reservoirs of energy stored deep within that allow them to accomplish so many things—even those that seem beyond their capabilities.

For further reading please see Hidden Treasures: How to Realize Your Potential.

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