Unleashing Our Potential – Join Our #MTtalk! » Mind Tools Blog
unleashing potential

Unleashing Our Potential – Join Our #MTtalk!

June 5, 2018

Please Join Us!

What: #MTtalk
Where: Twitter
When: Friday, June 8 @ 1 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. BST, 10:30 p.m. IST)
Topic: Unleashing Potential in Ourselves and Others
Host: @Mind_Tools

“Great leaders can see the greatness in others when they can’t see it themselves and lead them to their highest potential they don’t even know.”

– U.S. author Roy T. Bennett

About This Week’s Chat: A Boy With Only One Arm

There’s a story I enjoy sharing whenever I speak to people about unleashing their potential.

In his 1993 book, “You’re Born an Original, Don’t Die a Copy,” John Mason shares the story of a young boy who lost his left arm in a car accident. When he was 10 years old, the boy decided to enroll in judo classes with a Japanese master.

After three months, the sensei had taught the boy only one move. One day, the boy asked him, “Sensei, when are you going to teach me more moves?” He replied, “That move is all you need to know.”

The boy didn’t understand, but he trusted the judo master and kept on training. A few months later the sensei decided to enter the boy in a tournament. He won the first two rounds, surprising not only himself, but also many other people.

As the day went on, the boy won round after round until he reached the finals. He was up against a bigger, stronger and more experienced opponent. At one point, it looked as if the match was too one-sided and the referee wanted to stop it. The sensei insisted that they continue.

Then the bigger boy made a critical mistake, and his opponent used the only move he knew to pin him down. The boy had won the match and the tournament – he was the champion.

Turning Weakness Into Strength

On their way home, the boy asked the sensei how he was able to win with only one arm, knowing only one move. The sensei told him that there were two important factors that played a role.

“First, you mastered one of the most difficult throws in judo. Second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab you by your left arm.”

Upon meeting the boy, the judo master immediately saw how he could unleash the boy’s potential by turning his biggest weakness into his biggest strength.

Based on the story, I’d like to ask you two questions:

1. If you were the boy with one arm, would you have enrolled for judo lessons? In other words, would you have given yourself the chance to explore and unleash your potential despite an obvious drawback?

2. If you were the judo master, would you have accepted a boy with only one arm as a student? In other words, how do you look at people as a leader or manager: do you see their shortcomings, or do you see the potential behind the shortcomings?

Unleashing Potential in Ourselves and Others

Believing in your abilities, and being disciplined enough to follow through on a decision, might help you to reach your potential. Believing in others, supporting them, and providing them with the right tools might help them to reach theirs.

In our poll this week, we wanted to know what action from leaders or managers you thought would best help you to unleash your potential.

More than a third of participants voted for having more autonomy, while another third felt it would help if their managers/leaders listened to their ideas. Click here to view all the options and the results.

In Friday’s #MTtalk chat, we’re going to talk about unleashing your own and other people’s potential. We’d love you to participate in the chat, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:

  • What holds you back from reaching your full potential?
  • What difference would it make to your life and career if you unleashed your potential?
  • What’s the link between a person’s purpose and potential?
  • What might “unleashing potential” actually look like for a person?
  • How can you support employees to help them reach their full potential?
  • What are the benefits of unleashing the potential of your team, and/or the organization?


To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse.

High-Performance Coaching
Managing High Achievers
Aptitude Testing
How to Stop Procrastinating
Managing “Rebels”
Beating Self-Sabotage
Building Self-Confidence
Coping Under Pressure
Cognitive Restructuring

How to Join

Follow us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.

3 thoughts on “Unleashing Our Potential – Join Our #MTtalk!

  1. Bianca wrote:

    Yolande Conradie, thanks a lot for the article post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

    1. Midgie Thompson wrote:

      Thanks Bianca for that feedback. Hope you will be able to join us for the #MTtalk and share your ideas about unleashing potential.

    2. Yolande Conradie wrote:

      Thanks, Bianca. I’ve always loved that story and I’m glad to hear you also like it.

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