Potential is for Young People

“Few things are as costly as paying for potential that turns out to have been overrated.” — Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side by Howard Marks


As a young minister I once had an older and wiser minister tell me, “If the Bishop ever offers you a church and tells you that the reason you should go is because it has good potential you’d better run for the exit.”

Ironically, I am now a Bishop (and have used that line a few times myself) but I still agree with my wise minister friend.

Now let’s be clear, when I mention that a particular church has potential I am being truthful. And sometimes that is all a person should expect. But here’s how I’d handle potential…

The younger you are the more you should bet on potential; the old your are, the less. Matter of fact, there will come a time that potential will barely make the list.


My dad also gave me some good advice.

He taught me that when my denomination gave me credentials that after that all they owed me was an opportunity…after that, it was up to me take that opportunity and run with it.

Most often that “opportunity” is little more than potential, hope, a lot of hard work and sacrifice. And that is perfectly fine.

But I do want to remind you that you only have one life to live. If you are forever chasing potential there will come a time when you will run out of time…no matter how much potential is calling out to you.

There comes a time that the best thing you can do is settle down and make the best of the opportunity that has been given you. It’s hard to reap a harvest if you’re always on the move.

The ONE THING for today: The younger you are the more you should bet on potential; the old your are, the less. Matter of fact, there will come a time that potential will barely make the list.

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