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Get Real: potential

He’s everyone’s favorite voice on the radio. Nile FM’s Mohamed Safi – more commonly known as just ‘Safi’ – is a thrill-seeking, culture-curious, bongo-playing, golden-oldies-loving philanthropist.

 Fresh from his craziest adventure yet – cross-country racing in a tuktuk across northern India for charity – he’s embarking on a new series of articles exclusively for CairoScene.  Safi is asking us to take a good hard look at ourselves and GET REAL…  

You are a boat, within a shell, unable to roam an endless sea of possibilities, simply because of the fateful fact that well, you’re in a shell.  Now, unfortunately, that crustaceous metaphorical entity that surrounds your boat-ness also happens to be hampering your potential, for one cannot be a boat and achieve a total range of maritime functions if one is indeed stuck in a shell.

Redundancies aside, it is easy to argue that we live somewhere that hinders our truest potential. Truth be told, that argument can also be made almost anywhere on the planet, except maybe some Scandinavian spots for about one month of summer each year. Potential can be defined as a fulfillment of your abilities based on acquired skill sets as defined by your desires, personal achievement goals, and the ‘environmental facilitating factors’ that surround you. The latter is what many of us perceive to be the shell to our boat.

‘Environmental facilitating factors’ or EFFs for short, are quite interesting here in Egypt. From the chaotic nature of our very existence, to social, cultural and religious binds and gaps, it could be seen as rather difficult to attain your full potential if say, you wish to become anything from a bassist to an organic tofu farmer. It’s not easy out here; it’s not easy anywhere. It all differs dependening on your desires, which some of us have faced and know, while others have not, for a multitude of other reasons.

Do you know what and who you want to be and stand for? Or are you settling to pay the bills or please the family? Tough question, the answer of which should concern no one but you. One which some will spend a lifetime trying to figure out, while others waste a lifetime not even bothering to ask. As a boat, you can only break out of your shell if and only if, you first realize that you are a boat, right?

If you try naming a few friends that clearly should be doing something else with their lives, a few will probably instantly pop to mind. Some of Egypt’s brightest and most creative minds are stuck as doctors, architects and bankers. Many of the world’s greatest artists, musicians, and writers that we will never know, are stuck in the corporate doldrums of Egypt’s advertising industry. How many potential world class Egyptian Olympic athletes will never get to see the light, simply because they have no idea that they can? It’s like the whole nation is a diamond in the rough, which instantly sounds like a superior analogy to “boat in a shell”.

Yes, we don’t have the best EFFs in the world, to the point that it’s messed with our desires and personal achievement cycles. That has, in turn, affected our personal skill sets, confining them, as well as our range of possibilities which ultimately define our potential. But all that still doesn’t mean forgetting that you’re a boat. Get too engrossed in that shell and you shall probably sink into life’s mundane ocean, with great lengths of irony since, once again, you are supposed to be a boat.

There’s nothing wrong with having to settle for a (possibly drab) job in order to make ends meet, feed your family, send your kids to school and pay the mortgage. That’s pretty much what the entire world population is doing. Everyone is paying off some sort of installment or another, that’s how the new world order has been designed. Two points fall into play here; if you’re young enough to afford to not do that boring job, then don’t. There’s not much to lose by slugging it out and giving it all you’ve got to find the career that fulfills you and mind you, that career can change from time to time, and that’s perfectly OK too. Now if that’s a bit too late, and you’re smack bang in the middle of that exact dull scenario, then it’s time to remind yourself and the world of how much of a boat you really are. Vroom.

Now don’t go buying that Ferrari just yet, thinking that it will be “fulfilling your potential”; that’s very likely just a phallic-fueled mid-life crisis. Plastic surgery has nothing to do with “fulfilling your potential” either, at least in the abstract personal sense. Got kids? Invest in their desires; help them find out who they want to be, instead of manifesting who, or how you wanted to be through them. Been whining about wanting to quit your job for years? Do it, start a business and fulfill your potential as best as you can. You’ll never give it enough thought and effort if you’re still at your boring job. Start believing in the fact that you are a diamond err…boat. Start small. Start your boat. Get out of the shell.