Live UP to Your U.P. (Untapped [unpopped] Potential) — Lessons from a Microwave

Type_Up1-150x150If we see the word UP as an acronym for “Unlimited Potential” or “Untapped Potential” it gives even more meaning to the phrase, “UP Only!”.

We all have untapped potential.  We can all be a little bit more or do a little more than we are doing.  No one can be perfect, but all of us can grow and improve and uncover more of our potential each day.  Isn’t that what this school called life is truly all about, constant growth and never-ending improvement?

With this in mind, the word “UP” is showing up in my life more and more all the time; I have been flooded with ideas recently on ways to increase our UP Potential using the word UP.   I decided I will share them with you weekly and I will start today by reposting something I wrote in 2013 to get the ball rolling.

To increase our UP Potential, we must first Live UP to our full potential.

imagesWhen I was living in Chile as a missionary, my parents sent me a home video of our family with some microwave popcorn.  My mom knew I would love the opportunity to sit down and see what my sisters had been up to and to hear some live messages from home.  And who doesn’t like to enjoy a little popcorn with their movie?

The Chile of today has made some fantastic advancements and is an increasingly modern and quickly developing nation.  When I was there, however, it was still considered a Third World Country and needless to say, microwaves were extremely rare.

For months I carried that microwave popcorn around with me from place to place.  I actually developed quite an emotional attachment to that small plastic wrapped bag of unpopped kernels because it represented a piece of home to me.  For about 9 months I made sure that the popcorn was where I could always get to it should the opportunity present itself.

imagesFinally, I met a family that had saved up to buy a microwave.  The mother of the family was so excited about the new purchase she could hardly stand it.  She enthusiastically told us over and over again how quickly the microwave could boil water and melt butter!  “It melts butter fast!  You have to see it!” she repeatedly exclaimed.   I shared her excitement and congratulated her, but thought to myself, a microwave can do so much more than just melt butter!

You know where I am going don’t you?

You got it.  I invited myself and my companion over to spend time with their family one night and asked if they wouldn’t mind if I brought a family video over to watch with a treat.  They were very excited to see my video from home and looked forward to any treat I might bring.

220px-Popcorn_bag_unpoppedWhen we showed up, I asked first for permission to use their microwave and suggested they might want to come watch.  I slipped the popcorn out of its plastic wrap, placed it in the brand new microwave, shut the door and turned on the timer.  Then I stood back so they could all step forward with an unobstructed view.  The dad, the mom, and the three kids all gathered around the microwave like they were watching the last seconds of a tied-up soccer game with Chile in possession of the ball.

I had a feeling this was going to blow their minds.

imagesThe kernels began to pop.  You know how it goes, Pop! (wait several seconds) Pop!  (wait again) Pop!  Pop! (wait some more).  The family leaned in towards the microwave in anticipation of each new pop, surprised and excited by every sound. Then the pops gained momentum and finally in climatic fashion, like the finale in a Fourth of July fireworks show, the bag exploded with several simultaneous pops all at once!   The family who had patiently anticipated each pop and stood watch for the whole production, imagesexploded in applause and delight as they saw the bag expand and could smell the delicious aroma of the finished product.

Suffice it to say, this event was more entertaining for all of us than my family’s video.  It is a memory I will never forget.

The question I have now is this:  how many of us are going through life just melting butter when we have the potential to do so much more?

My purpose is not to make you feel bad about what you are doing or not doing, but to get you to think.  Are you staying comfortable?  Is there room for growth?  The answer is almost always yes.

Consider something you know you could do or something you know you should do, but have put it off for another day when you have more time, more resources, or more knowledge.

You have what you need.  You have had it all along.

22281ozthe-wizard-of-oz-posters2When will you look down and recognize that you have Ruby Red Slippers?  Remember the scarecrow had a heart all along, the Lion never lacked for courage and the Tin Man’s heart was always inside his big tin barrel chest.

You will never outperform your own self-image.  Take the time to evaluate that image you have for yourself.  Remind yourself of your God given potential and passionately go and tap into it.

And remember, be patient!  Not all the kernels pop at once!


Follow me each week as I explore and play with the word UP to share more ways to increase your UP Potential and that of those you influence.

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