The Potential Already Lies Within

IMG_9910In his book StrengthsFinder 2.0, author Tom Rath takes on an American icon. He takes the story of Rudy Ruettiger, dramatized in the 1993 movie Rudy, and turns it upside down. He says, “While Rudy’s perseverance is admirable, in the end, he played a few seconds of college football and made a single tackle . . . after thousands of hours of practicing.”

His point is that we idolize those who overcome great odds—and a lack of natural talent—to show that “overcoming deficits is an essential part of the fabric of our culture.”

Maybe it’s obvious by the title of his book, but what Rath is getting at is that instead of embracing the idea that “you can be anything you want to be as long as you try hard enough,” why don’t we look for where people are strong and encourage them in that?

Where do they really show potential?


My 16-year-old daughter could carry a tune before she could talk. She would sing in her sweet baby voice with words we couldn’t understand, but we always knew what she was singing because we recognized the tune. The barrier she’s working to overcome isn’t one of natural talent, that she has in abundance. Her hurdle is shyness and a lack of desire to ever be in the public eye.

Consider the parable of the talents. The master gave to each servant what He willed, and they then had to do something with it.

Rather than seeing something you want and overcoming every obstacle to gain it, why don’t you look at what you’ve been given and invest it in the absolute best way you can?

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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6 thoughts on “The Potential Already Lies Within

  1. I think your idea of identifying our God-given talents is great! Thanks for sharing about the book, and what the author says about our potential and harnessing that potential. I posted today in the “Five Minute Friday – POTENTIAL” link up. Great post, and thanks for sharing it!

  2. Your thoughts reminded me of what I just read in the Immerse reading of Joshua, where Joshua told the people to go explore the land that was theirs. I am thinking about ways to apply this to what areas God may want me to ‘explore’ and develop! Maybe there are ways Morgan can explore her talent that will feel safe and challenging at the same time!

  3. C.S. Lewis talks a bit about this in Mere Christianity. He talks about why being “nice” isn’t the litmus test of Christianity. For some, it might come easily. But for others, it may have required a lot of work to come to a place of expressing that characteristic. Watching transformation is a beautiful thing.

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