I was recently visiting with one of my best friends, and the question came up, what percentage of people reach their full potential in life?
I was traveling with my mom a couple days ago, and the question came up again.
The consensus, and I'm sure a lot of you will agree, seems to be somewhere around 1% of 1%.
That would be 1 person out of every 10,000 people. There is close to 7,400,000,000 people on the planet at the time of writing this. The optimistic side of me is happy to think that almost 750,000 people could reach their full potential.
But how do we increase that number?
Here are some of my thoughts on potential:
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." - George Addair
Fear shrinks our comfort zones, causing us to settle for less. We are often taught that safety is what to strive for in life, and safety here in the states is often felt through having a nice house, with nice transportation, and a nice nest egg. You feel safe when you're comfortable. You become comfortable when you're safe. This mentality can take you through a good, happy life. I believe that safe and comfortable can also keep you from reaching your full potential. It's hard to accomplish something extraordinary, without taking risk and stepping into unknown and new realms--whether that's new social circles, new jobs, new learning, new viewpoints, etc.
"I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought, "F**k that. I want to be a superhuman'" - David Bowie
I think a lot of people are born with desires to be more than just a human here on earth for a short amount of time. When you're a kid, and you say you want to be a singer, or an astronaut, or have your own island, what stops you? Usually society; everyone that gave up on their plans. It's a brutal cycle, over and over. The pressure to conform and listen, and to not be entirely different than those you go to school with, or work with, is tremendous--especially when you're younger, and taught to "respect your elders," and "wisdom comes with age." Respect people, and please realize that wisdom comes from experience. I know people in their twenties that are far wiser than people in their nineties, because they seek out more experiences, and are far more open minded.
"Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death." - Elon Musk
When you put it that way, who would ever want to go out and work on their business idea? Depression is a very common trait in entrepreneurship. It's because emotions can run very high and be intense while building a company. I don't think many people can argue against Elon Musk being in the process of reaching his full potential. He's repeatedly eating that glass, and he's stared (company) death in the face before. Somehow, someway, he's accepted that there are no shortcuts, and it's extremely painful, but the end result just might be worth every hard and trying moment. That is a mindset for reaching full potential.
This week, I've taken opportunities to apply these thoughts to my current ventures. To reach your full potential, you have to start right now.
I spent the earlier part of Mother's Day back in Blakesburg with my parents. I made the decision to devote my evening to working on aerolands in Fairfield. Danen and I had just received word that we would be presenting to a panel on Thursday (May 12), in hopes of making it into the Ag Startup Engine, a hybrid Ag tech accelerator that is launching in Ames, capable of providing support for 6-12 months. We have a BIG vision for aerolands, with the focus on providing our aeroponically grown produce to grocery stores and restaurants all over, beginning in Iowa. It is terrifying to think of what steps we need to take, and the pressure that is on us in order to accomplish something of this scale, capable of reshaping an industry. Thankfully we're crazy enough and willing to attempt it.
On Tuesday I returned to Ames and jumped right back into progress with KinoSol, I spent some time reaching out for feedback on Young Entrepreneur Convention (YEC), and completing the Ag Startup Engine application by 3 am Wednesday morning. By time I fell asleep, I was able to rest for 80 minutes before having to wake up and prepare for a trip to Iowa City, where KinoSol was able to present at 1 Million Cups.
1 Million Cups Iowa City was great, and I've accepted that to reach full potential, many, many hours of sleep will be sacrificed. A BIG thank you goes to Ella for driving there and back.
Once we were back in Ames, it was a busy Wednesday afternoon. Startup Ames organized its first IdeaFlow event, where entrepreneurs, community builders, startup enthusiasts, and wisdom seekers made their way to Torrent Brewery for a pint and networking. I was lacking sleep, and obsessing over the aerolands presentation that would happen the next day, but networking had to be done. There was a great turnout, with a lot of new faces, and I'm happy to have been able to take part in the first IdeaFlow event. Wednesday night was focused on the aerolands presentation, not sleep.
Thursday morning greeted me at just after 8 am, but I didn't get out of bed for over an hour. It felt great. By noon, Danen had made it to Ames, and we were off to present to the panel that will decide if aerolands is a good fit for the first Ag Startup Engine cohort. Our presentation went well, as we were right at 10 minutes, and I didn't majorly mess anything up. The questions were great, and Danen handled his answers like a man who has worked on this idea, and did his research, for many years. I'd guess right around 6 years if we're counting. My anxiety always peaks before any sort of presentation, and this presentation carried 9 months' worth of progress with it. Now, as I type this, I only have to deal with the "what if" depression, while we wait to hear if we're accepted.
This morning I'm off to meet with Andrew, fellow co-founder of YEC, to talk about strategies and direction in YEC marketing. We learned an incredible amount of what it takes to run a large, unique event, when we hosted YEC in Des Moines on April 22nd and 23rd. The entire team is happy with the results, and we've received positive feedback every single day since YEC ended. By creating this entrepreneurial movement, we created a support system for many fellow glass eaters, and aspiring glass eaters.
After the meeting with Andrew, the KinoSol team will be off to Des Moines for filming. Chris Lo (also a YEC co-founder), owner of Situasian Films, will be helping us create short marketing videos that we'll be releasing over the coming months, to showcase why each one of us believes in KinoSol's mission, what KinoSol is accomplishing, and how we're helping families all over the world to have more food, better nutrition, and a better way of life. I often fear not being able to sell KinoSol units, but we keep moving forward, and we just reached double digits in sales.
To keep up with every venture, it puts my body through a lot of mental and physical stamina challenges. But what's better than these challenges? A Gladiator Assault Challenge! Myself and Mikayla are in the 9:40 am flight tomorrow morning. While we haven't trained nearly enough, the 7ish miles and a couple dozen obstacles are only going to require a good mindset. Just knowing the entire 2 to 3 hours it takes us to complete the challenge will be spent outside our comfort zones has my adrenaline building. It will be a great experience, although my body will disagree during, and likely the days following.
Saturday night will entail a nice screening of the new Star Wars in Jack Trice Stadium, but not before I get a little more work done. Come Sunday morning, I'm sure I'll drag my sore self out of bed and straight over to my standing desk, where the ventures await digitally, along with the fear of not knowing, a pile of glass, and the abyss.
F**k it. I'm a superhuman, working on reaching my full potential.
STARTUPS - TRAVEL - EXPERIENCES