One of the most important things each of us can do is realize our potential and become our best self. As children of God, all of us have the potential to become like Him. However, many of us don’t realize this possibility. By following God’s commandments, we can one day return to His presence to live with Him. But before we can we achieve it, we need to first realize it.
My favorite story of achieving full potential is the story of NBA player Harrison Barnes. Harrison is currently a starter on one of the best basketball teams in the world, and he has come a long way from his home in Iowa.
In high school, Harrison stood at 6 feet 6 inches tall, but only weighed 180 pounds. His lack of bulk for his size forced him to play a position that players his height usually don’t play–shooting guard. Barnes towered over his competition and became one of the top college prospects during his high school years. North Carolina University, one of the best college basketball programs, recruited him. His new coach, however, wanted him to take on the small forward position. At first Barnes struggled playing at the position due to his lack of size, but hard work and commitment led him to great success in college and he went on to his current NBA career.
Harrison’s growth didn’t stop there. He’s developed into a well-rounded player on the Golden State Warriors, one of the top teams in the NBA. However, one of the team’s weaknesses is the lack of a power forward player. This position is usually played by someone taller and stronger than Barnes. However, this past season, Warriors coach Steve Kerr asked Barnes to step into the position. This seemed risky for a player who once struggled with playing this position, but Harrison and the rest of his team have thrived since the change.
What made Harrison Barnes so successful? How was someone able to make such a drastic change for himself and his team? To me, it was because Harrison realized what he could become, he humbly trusted his coaches and he focused on his potential to be great at the position his team needed rather than what conventional wisdom said was holding him back from his potential.
Harrison Barnes’ story reminds me of a scripture found in Ether 12:27:
“…I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them.”
I believe that with hard work and commitment we can literally make our weaknesses into strengths. Like Harrison, when we realize our worth and focus on what we can become, the possibilities are endless.