The following question was posed by a college student doing a research paper on Scientology:
To you, what does “reaching your full potential” mean in Scientology?
To answer this, I asked a number of Scientologist friends to answer how they felt about this. Their answers are below:
Natalie, mother & artist: It really is so personal to each person. For me, it means becoming purely me, and be able to doing the things I want to do without the internal barriers holding me back. For example, I used to be very, very nervous with people and through Scientology I’ve become much more extroverted and outgoing. It’s so much easier to make friends and excel in my business goals as well. I want to be the best mom and wife I can be, I am an artist and want to help as many people as I can with that, and “reaching my full potential” means being able to do those things without my own past holding me back.
Cristal, non-profit director: For me it means being the best person I can be: myself without any fears or hidden stimulus-response mechanisms controlling me.
It also means reaching new levels of happiness and success across all facets of life. We have a saying amongst Scientologists, that you know one by the positive effect they have in their surroundings.
Dan, martial arts instructor: It means taking away all the internal stops and barriers that keeps us from doing just that. There is a famous phrase “We are our own worst enemies.” In terms of internal stops and barriers that is so true. Once those have been handled one can really reach for the stars no matter what profession or activity you are in. This holds true for being a spouse or parent. When I look back on what kind of individual I was before Scientology, I am really glad that I didn’t have any children. I would have made a terrible father. So, to me, “reaching your full potential” means becoming the best version of that you can possibly become.
Shaina, Scientology auditor: For me, it means becoming the best version of myself that I can. This would include handling, on a gradient approach, all the things about myself that I don’t like or that I feel bring people down instead of up. It also includes doing as much as I can to help other people, because I see how poorly many people are doing and how much they need assistance, and I want to make a difference. Scientology helped me get out of a really bad condition in my life, and I don’t know where I’d be without it. I want to do that for other people as much as I am able.
Craig, music teacher: Scientology addresses you as a spiritual being, not as a brain or body. In my years of study and practice, I have been able to address and understand those things that aren’t me. They no longer effect me and I find myself free to do things as myself. Over the years I have increased my ability exponentially at my job. After years of being painfully shy, I tend to become a leader in any sphere of activity I am involved in. Life is easier, relationships mores stable and free of drama, etc. An individual’s potential is unlimited. Scientology addresses and handles those things that aren’t you and frees the being. Then you are free to reach your full potential. That is what the statement means to me.
Michelle, educator: That’s a hard one to answer. Mr. Hubbard said, “Your potentials are greater than anyone has ever allowed you to believe.” I know that as I continue to learn and do more church services, that I become more free from the effects of upsets and problems of the past which allows me to be more myself, more sane and logical, and not making decisions influenced by those past upsets. I know I have become more creative. I know my relationships with friends, family, children, coworkers, etc. all get stronger. I know I have become more confident in my own abilities. How far does that full potential go? I don’t know, but I will keep trying to find out.
Fio, college student: Since I was very young, I have wanted to be a doctor. Scientology has not only helped me but has given me the tools to become a better listener and learner. “Reaching my full potential” for me means to do what I’m doing, whether that is art, singing, practicing medicine, or anything at all, at the best of my ability.
Erin, mother: For me- “reaching my full potential” really means be as able as I can be in my life so that I am able to help others more. I have really found that the things I have done in Scientology have made me more able and have allowed me to handle more in my life. The ways I have experienced this have been in rather ordinary ways, though they have made a huge difference to me in my life. But they aren’t really anything sensational. It’s things like, for example, being more capable as a parent- After my first child I felt like I really had my hands full with just one child and couldn’t fathom having another one. I was doing some Scientology training and, over time, I felt like I became more and more capable of handling things in life, including parenting, and I was eventually ready to add another child to my family. My second child was rather a bigger handful than my first child, but because I felt more capable as a person and as a parent, that more difficult child didn’t rattle me like my first one did. And in fact, being more able as a parent allowed me to figure out some issues my son was experiencing that were causing him to be a bit of a handful. We were able to make some changes ( he needed to be gluten free) and he started doing a lot better.
I know that’s a rather long answer- but for me I guess reaching my full potential is really just about being able to be my best self and being capable in ways that are important to me.
I became a Scientologist around the time I was 18 (about 20 years ago). At the time, a friend introduced me to some of the concepts in Scientology about communication and about how the mind works. Those things made so much sense to me and were such answers to some things in life that I didn’t understand that it made me realize that there was something her that was really worth knowing more about and really understanding. When I was able to look at the religion for myself and understand what it was actually about, that really gave me a different perspective on the religion than what I had been seeing in the media. I would say that the sensationalized religion that the media tries to portray is really not at all what I have experienced.
Tad, father of 3: That’s one of the deeper questions that someone has asked me, actually. There are a few sides to “potential,” I think. What are the properties and qualities and capabilities that I feel I should have, or that I could have at some future time, or assuming some ideal set of circumstances? To me, it’s best quantified by first trying to look at life in its component parts. What is my potential as myself? For my relationship with my wife? For my kids? My work? My group and my church? Mankind as a whole?
For any of those things, what are they like now, and what would their ideal state be? For that last bit, sometimes one doesn’t even know how good something can be. Someone who has never been athletic in their life likely wouldn’t know the elation an elite gymnast feels at nailing a perfect floor routine. Someone who’s grown up in a broken, dysfunctional household likely might set the bar pretty low at what would be a “perfect relationship”. Someone who’s never had kids might not know how to accurately define what being an “ideal parent” might look like.
For me, personally, it’s something I iterate on. There are some things in my life that are going swimmingly, others that I know I’m simply not doing as well as I could. But I’ve got goals I want to achieve for myself, my family, and my group, and to the degree that I’m not able to hit them, well, I’d say I’m not living up to my potential.
But that’s what Scientology has always solved for me. It’s been a path by which I can take my life as it is, in my own estimation, and improve those things that need to be improved. In some cases it’s been my productivity, in other cases it’s been my honesty and integrity to my goals and to my friends that needed address. In other cases it’s been a matter of being able to let go of past upsets, and bad decisions that I was still using illogically to curb what I was doing in the here and now.
In any case though, all that really matters is that one is living up to one’s own standards of “full potential” so that one can achieve their own goals. I hope that answers things.
Katie, church staff: To me, this is a very individual question and the answer would vary with each Scientologist. For me it means being able to improve conditions in my life and the lives of people I love, like my family. I personally love helping people improve their lives, so reaching my full potential would be doing that to my greatest ability, with the best results attainable.
Rosalyn, Scientology parent and grandparent: Being totally “me” – being able to use all my native abilities to accomplish personal goals, being able to effectively care for my family, help my community, make a difference in the world.