The Power of Possible Selves: Unlocking the Potential Within

The CEO secretly desires out so she will be able to hike the Himalayan mountains. The monetary planner daydreams of portray whereas filling out spreadsheets. The mom of three doesn’t know what she desires to develop into after her youngsters go away the nest.  

Have you ever ever puzzled who you possibly can develop into? What you would possibly accomplish, the particular person you possibly can evolve into, or the desires you possibly can convey to life? These musings about our future selves should not simply daydreams; they faucet right into a psychological idea often known as “potential selves.” Potential selves symbolize the numerous variations of our future selves that we see in our thoughts’s eye. 

These ideas of who we may develop into embody our aspirations, hopes, and desires—and likewise our fears, anxieties, and uncertainties. 


When Nervousness Threatens Your Splendid Self

Final month I noticed Jade Simmons give a keynote tackle at the Entrepreneurial Excellence Discussion board for the Girls Presidents Group. As she performed a grand piano on stage, Jade instructed the story of how nervousness put her potential future self in jeopardy. She noticed herself as a classical pianist. That picture was threatened by the nervousness that saved her from taking part in, or pressured her to cease performing proper in the course of a present. 

The best way she discovered by way of these paralyzing moments was to inform tales to her viewers. Talking out loud helped her calm down and gave her the area she wanted to have the ability to resume taking part in. After the exhibits, her viewers got here as much as her and instructed her that her tales had been so significant and insightful. What was being mirrored again to her was that her complete self—the one which instructed tales and the one which performed piano—was magnificent. 

Jade started to see a brand new potential self—one which held her complete. I used to be blown away by her efficiency, weaving collectively viewers participation, her unimaginable musical expertise, and her storytelling abilities, and so impressed by her bravery in moving into this model of a potential self. I’m so grateful she mentioned sure to that chance. The world is best due to it. 


All Our Potential Selves

The idea of potential selves was first launched by psychologists Hazel Markus and Paula Nurius. In response to their analysis, folks maintain a wide range of potential selves that function reference factors for self-evaluation and goal-setting. These potential selves will be organized into completely different classes, together with hoped-for selves (desired future identities), feared selves (undesired future identities), and anticipated selves (the most probably future identities primarily based on present circumstances).

At Wholebeing Institute, we name the hoped-for self the Splendid Self. It’s the guiding gentle for the motion you select to do right this moment. As a result of to ensure that the best of tomorrow to develop into the truth of right this moment, it is advisable to be working towards some side of the best now. 

Jade needed to observe telling tales. She needed to get snug pulling folks up on stage. She needed to craft her days in another way to nurture the potential self of not only a live performance pianist however as an alternative a storytelling, piano-playing keynote speaker. 


What Our Feared and Anticipated Selves Inform Us

On the flip aspect of the best self are the scary selves: the unfavorable or undesirable visions that come up from our anxieties and worries concerning the future. As an illustration, the CEO who desires to go away her job and hike fears the stigma of shedding her title, not being profitable, and “throwing away” what she has completed. I assume Jade had fears about giving up her classical pianist picture. The scary self retains us caught in a less than excellent state of affairs as a result of the choice might be worse. 

Anticipated selves lie someplace between the idealized and feared variations of ourselves. These are probably the most lifelike future identities that we anticipate primarily based on our present circumstances and trajectories. A medical scholar expects their future self to be a working towards physician, constructing upon their years of training and coaching. 

The anticipated selves might lack the thrill of the hoped-for selves or the nervousness of the scary selves, however they’re full of data. For those who maintain happening the anticipated trajectory you might be on now, the place does that lead you? And is that the place you wish to go?

Potential selves are extra than simply daydreams; they’re highly effective catalysts for private development and transformation. By envisioning your future identities, you harness your potential, discover your objective, and construct resilience and willpower to navigate the complexities of life. 

So, dare to dream, embrace the ability of your potential selves, and unlock the extraordinary potential inside you.


Discover ways to coach others towards their ideally suited self in WBI’s Constructive Psychology Fundamentals course, or learn to stay into your ideally suited self in our Introduction to Wholebeing Happiness course. 

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