While preparing for the college admission process, namely the SAT test, I abhorred analogies. The concept fascinated me; finding a similarity between things otherwise unlike. I loved the deeper, abstract thinking it provoked. It fed my nerdy desire to think and analyze and think some more. However, I did not know the vocabulary and hence was unable to understand (and score well on) the SAT analogies.

I was recently reminded of one of my favorite analogies from Joel Osteen’s book, Become a Better You, while driving with a friend to a basketball game. The limit on my speedometer is 160 MPH. Now, I have never driven my car that fast. Honestly, the fastest I have even driven was 95 MPH for a quick, brief, transient moment in the backroads of Pennsylvania. But because I haven’t driven my car that fast does not mean that it cannot go as fast as the speedometer displays. The mechanical engineers and car designers crafted a car with the potential to go that fast, 160 MPH, and have the utmost confidence that it can reach that top speed. Most of the time while in my car, driving through the busy New York City streets, I drive around 40 MPH, which is only one fourth of my car’s potential.

Similarly, and here is the beauty of analogies, Joel Osteen argues in the opening chapter of the book that we, as individuals, tend not to live up to our potential. The ultimate designer and creator, God, has crafted us with the potential to go 160 MPH and faster. But, for various reasons, we tend to only go 40 MPH, if that fast at all. In the end, we do not max out our potential top speed.

I share this analogy with you, not to convert you to monotheism or Christianity or any other religion. Nor do I want to question your religious beliefs. To the critics and supporters, I say, “To each his/her own.”

More importantly, I want to challenge you to think about how fast are you going? How much of your potential are you using?

This analogy always seems to find its way back to the forefront of my thoughts when I question my performance. It always leaves me with a stronger desire to push my foot down on my life’s pedal and zoom to my potential.


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