Assess Your Potential Before Taking Action

Note: This is a guest post by Armen Shirvanian of Timeless Information

Before you start a task, you are going to want to assess the potential limit you can hit in aspects of the project. If you are about to set up a meeting for 24 dancers in your local area for them to get to know each other, you want to take the time to see how far your skills can take the occurrence. Will you simply keep it as a networking event, or will you try to set up a future dance contest, or will you go even further, and have everyone provide their information to be part of an e-mail group that continues to communicate with each other?

You want to assess your potential before you take action, so that you can judge whether the ending results of your efforts will be satisfying. If you are invited to give a speech, and are not sure if it is worth your time, this is the time to judge how far you can take the event. You might be able to give the speech, and at the same time make it remarkable enough to have a chance at attaining employment with one of the hiring individuals (from your desired place of employment) that would be present in the audience. In that case, it would then be more than worth it. If you couldn’t see yourself bringing a lot to the table, the speech might not be a wise use of your time.

Lean Toward The Option Where Your Passion Increases Potential

If you are provided with two internships, with one being at a local government facility and another being at a factory, and you see the government internship as more lucrative, don’t let that cloud your thoughts of which internship will be more valuable to you. If you can see yourself making more of an impact at the factory, because you have an intrinsic interest in bringing efficiency to a hands-on workforce, it would be nonsensical to take the government internship in the hope that the more lofty position would speak to future employers louder than the passion you would show at the factory position. Wherever you go, people want to see you bring a lot to the table, or they get the feeling that you are in the wrong place, regardless of how high-end the place is.

Your potential is easy to judge. The first feeling you get about how you will perform in a function or project is the one you want to listen to. You can then reflect on past examples of your efforts to add to that initial feeling, in order to accurately assess how you will do, or how far you will go, in the task. Your past repeats itself all the time in your current actions, because your personality and mannerisms are fairly fixed in place, so it would make no sense to think that the past version of you is a different person. You may be calmer with items that would cause you more tension in the past, but the same things that irked you in the past are likely to irk you today, and the same items you excelled at are the same ones that are your strengths today.

Cross Out Tasks That Would Lead To An Unsatisfying End Result

The idea behind checking your potential ability in a task before starting it is to filter out those tasks or events that would come out as “good” or “average” experiences. Since the goal is to stay in the “great” or “remarkable” categories, you have to protect the usage of your time and effort for those actions that are fitting. Here is a streamlined checklist of the process:

  1. you are provided with, or see, an opportunity
  2. you assess how far you can take the opportunity with your current abilities and passion
  3. you decline if you can’t take it to a suitable level of greatness, and accept if you can
  4. the value of your time continues to increase

Since you know your potential ability better than anyone, it is up to you to use that knowledge to avoid activities that don’t match it, and take part in those that do.

Armen Shirvanian writes for Timeless Information on topics including mindset development, social interaction, communication, and competition. He has also created a compilation eBook that contains thorough discussion about 11 valuable quotations. You can check out his articles and eBook at


  1. Donald, I would like to publicly thank you. I felt that the concept fit right in with optimization of one’s living, as assessing potential before taking action increases the ratio of successful actions completed. I appreciate the provided opportunity to point out my views to your audience.

  2. Armen, it’s me who should thank you for contributing such a useful post.

    I agree with you that assessing potential can help people get more out of their lives. After all, we have only limited resources (time, energy, etc) available. But assessing the potential before taking action, we can be sure that we use our resources in the best possible way.

  3. I found this post thought-provoking, but thought it would have benefitted greatly from some specific examples, whether fictional or anecdotal, of someone following the process. I’m still unclear as to how to actually apply this.

  4. Lisa: I hear you there, and understand your concern for a more concrete example. I look to fill in for that with one here in this comment to elaborate upon the article.

    For this example, I will take an accountant who wants to expand their business presence. While they could go through the traditional route of advertising by spending a certain amount, the accountant might also check on other available methods of building their image. After brainstorming, the accountant comes up with ideas including giving financial speeches in his local area, setting up a financial site to meet potential customers online, or creating a pamphlet to pass around his local neighborhoods and businesses.

    It would then be best for him to examine his past strengths in order to see which path would have the most potential. If he took notice that he always got points across well in speeches he made in the past, it would be a reasonable choice to cancel on making pamphlets, or a site, and then to focus on setting up giving financial speeches in the local area.

    Furthermore, once in the process of giving speeches or running local conferences, it would benefit the accountant to limit the speech and socializing time to a sustainable level based on known past ability, so as not to get overwhelmed and start under-performing in accounting work.

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  6. Armen, i really appreciate your post as a guest on this blog. You seem to bring such a great style and approach to this sensitive topic of taking action. I think this topic is in general in use, is a crucial step to all success an person can aspire towards.

    Any thoughts?

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  8. Monique Avakian
    Monique Avakian


    I find your article extremely helpful, especially to those of us who have issues with over-excitement and impulse control. This is the first article I have come across that gives me a specific technique that will help me make better choices. Plus, I got a little chuckle while reading because, of COURSE, I always want to be “in the remarkable category”! I will definitely check out your other work.


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