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Falling in Love with Potential is a Mistake!

Falling in Love with Potential is a Mistake!

I told the moderator of a panel I was on: “falling in love with potential is a mistake.” The moderator looked at me like I was crazy. He gave me the side-eye and said: “I don’t agree at all, Michelle Obama married for potential and look at her now.”

My jaw dropped to the floor, what a ridiculously misinformed comment.

The truth of the matter is when 25 year-old Michelle Robinson met 27 year-old Barack Obama he had the following in his favor:

  • Harvard Law graduate (a distinction they shared)
  • Former Editor and first African American President of the Harvard Law review (a much sought-after position)
  • Considered by many at Harvard Law and his new law firm to be a prodigy
  • Summer associate at a prestigious corporate law firm (where Michelle worked)
  • Shared values (discovered by Michelle’s time mentoring Barack at the firm)
  • Athletic and avid basketball player
  • Single and available…HELLO!

In other words, he had it going on. BIG TIME!!!

I won’t argue he didn’t also have a bright future ahead but no one can say he wasn’t compelling upon their first introduction.

This is my point, if the person who stands before you today isn’t compelling, don’t gamble your life on their potential to become compelling.

Also, don’t waste your time!

So often I see good-willed people focus much of their energy on attempting to “rescue” or “upgrade” their partner. They give unreciprocated time, love, money, energy, and advice. I’m sure you know someone doing this right now. If so, do them a favor and have a good Come-To-Jesus talk with them. The truth is they’re not in a relationship, they’re working on a science project. They haven’t fallen in love with the man/woman, they have actually fallen in love with the “ideal” of the man/woman. This is dangerous, simply because often times the “ideal” is never realized.

Having a healthy relationship with your partner means loving them for who stands before you today, not the hope of who they will be tomorrow.

 

Posted on: Jun 7, 2013

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23 comments
Tonette Bell
Tonette Bell

I will like too say one more thing, most men i have met with potential always talked a good game. So ladies and gentleman please beware of the internet.!!!

Tonette Bell
Tonette Bell

Amen!! well said, you dont have too do it! I have already done it for you!! Run fast!!! time is of essence and you can never get it back!!! so dodge the bullet and run fast!!!

Cachae7
Cachae7

Despite what people call "Diamonds in the Ruff" this is Not potential. A lot of people talk a good game, talk about what they "want" and talk about what they "need" but aren't willing to work for it. People with potential [Real] potential - don't have time for you - They are investing time in their craft, trying to turn their potential into reality. They will eat, drink, sleep and Breathe their future! That's how you separate those with potential with those who "got it going on" which coincidentally, doesn't make for success. Got it going on doesn't guarantee you'll "get there!"

k9luver
k9luver

Where were you 25 years ago when I got into a relationship with someone with awesome "potential?" After 16 years, I realized he decided to wash all of that awesome potential down a spiral of mental illness and substance abuse. It has been 7 years since I couldn't hold on to the dream (which had become a nightmare) anymore. Now that I'm in my mid-50's, I'm starting to be whole enough to be with someone who I can share life with--not prop up and hope that "someday" will come! I just pray it is not too late....

Biiond Liza Ellen
Biiond Liza Ellen

You should post this on your video about shopping vs. investing. A lot of the ladies in the comment section were confused about what you meant by invest. This would clear it up. Great work as usual!

Daniel Sey
Daniel Sey

This article is interesting in that it is two edged. It could give insight to a sadly deluded mind, but then it could spell OPEN SEASON to a 'gold digger'...high power equipment and all.

Meka Love
Meka Love

Ummm... gee thanks? And I really coulda used this one haha! Kidding...I would've likely looked around making brief eye contact with everyone nodding an assertive: "yes... you people take heed."

Mr . T
Mr . T

why don't you do 10-reasons-shes-not-the-woman-for-you

Shola Abidoye
Shola Abidoye

Formal education is way over-rated. As Einstein once said "education is what you have when you have forgotten everything you learned in school". *Written goals* and proof of a daily action plan (no matter how far a person is from where they intend to be, no matter the size of the daily step as long as it is consistent) - IMHO are firm indicators of success. An excellent book by Dr. Robert Maurer (Wash. U, and USC), "The Kaizen Way: One Small Step Can Change Your Life".

Debbie
Debbie

I agree with not wasting tour time on someone with 'potential'. I met many a men who had potential, not one caught my eye. But at 43 years old, I met a man who did not have potential, he has it all. He is 50, no kids and never married, and funny enough feels the same way. He wanted the right person. It was a long journey, but choosing the right person or the right time with someone with potential, was all worth it.

SamuelFolkes
SamuelFolkes

Obama met Michelle in 1989, a full 2 years before he got his JD from Harvard Law.

Troy Spry
Troy Spry

I COMPLETELY agree with this article and I spend a lot of time trying to get this point across to the clients that I coach. What I find is that many times potential is a way to justify being with someone that we may have great chemistry with. Although we may have great chemistry with that person, it doesnt necessarily scream compatibility. We all have potential, but there is something to be said about the people who are already living in their potential as many times potential without action is just a dream. At a certain age we must accept people as they are because when we decide to be with someone we are saying that I accept you as you are right now and not as you "could be." What if that person never realizes their potential or makes it reality? Will you still be able to accept them then? Truth is that we are what we repeatedly do. There are examples of falling in love with potential working out, but I wouldn't suggest it as a rule of thumb. Many times we like to make the exception to the rule the actual rule. Everyone deserves a chance, but at some point when dating we must have some strategy and give ourselves the best chance at success. Great Article! I wrote about a similar concept, but more along the lines of chemistry vs. compatibility. Check it out sometimes...http://www.xklusivethoughts.com/2013/05/30/when-fireworks-arent-enough-chemistry-vs-compatibility/

Joyce Smith
Joyce Smith

This is great information, if only I had it before my last relationship. I had this idea of what our life would be like and he reinforced my ideas but in word alone. There was no fruit or

twitter.com/terrillcharming
twitter.com/terrillcharming

You're right. But if we dont take a chance on certain people we will never even know their full potential.

Sharon D.Meadows
Sharon D.Meadows

Paul, well said! It took me 7 years of "project" work to realize that "potential" is wasted energy that may never manifest into anything other than just being "potential". If it ain't "good" already then don't expect it to be "great" later.

Jeannette
Jeannette

Paul...YOU SAID IT SO WELL! Too many times I've heard people even use the Obama's as a reason for Women accept a Guy (who is not doing much now) as the 'potential' he has for the future. As misinformed as that Guy's comment was, I hope that you educated him on the situation lol.

quinne
quinne

as much as he had already laid the foundation in some things it sill was very possible that he wouldnt have lived up to his potential. He could have easily been a "dream deferred" so while I do agree that it is necessary to have an idea of the end result you purchase the seeds not for what they are but what they will become. and thats exactly what Michelle did she saw the seed who the young Barack was and that allowed her to buy into the potential of the great fruit he COULD bear, because it still could have ended up rotten.

Cj
Cj

I disagree as a wife of over a decade to a man that is far from the mindset that he had when I met him. Yet the underlying factors were their that I fell in love with and was willing to put in the work to help be the man that God called him to be. Consequently, so does he for me. We are "becoming" but far from where we use to be and these presents results could not have been realized if we did not take a chance on "potential."

Desiree M. Mondesir
Desiree M. Mondesir

EXCELLENT article!! I'm all for the "Michelle Obama effect," but some people really do just use this as an excuse to act stupid. Red flags (in this case, JUST potential, no fruit) are still red flags and must be heeded at all times.

Marie Glasheen
Marie Glasheen

Thank you for this clever article. In my couple coaching practice i take a lot of time looking into emotional attachments to expectations that my partner needs to be different than who they are and what a pitfall this is for relationships.

Marian Toure
Marian Toure

I have had discussions with friens on this issue and right off i was seen as someone for wanted it 'ready made'. I am glad a man is siding with me on this.

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