by Ron White
The stage was a Texas Rangers baseball game. I stared at the batter and muttered “potential” as he held the bat over his shoulder waiting for the pitch. No sooner had the word escaped my mouth when my friend leaned over and said, “What did you say?” I replied, “I said potential.” Her confused question was, “OK…? Potential in regard to what?”
I then explained. “Well, in science they have something called potential energy, and it basically says that the higher an object is, the more potential energy it has. For example, a rock on top of a building has a potential energy in it—if it were to fall. I was just thinking about the potential energy in the player’s bat and how that relates to me.”
She looked at me intensely, somehow sensing that I was telling the truth that these were my thoughts. She proclaimed, “I never cease to be astounded at the weird things you think about.”
Perhaps it is an odd thought to cross my mind at a baseball game, but it happened. Potential energy basically says that the higher an object is, the greater the potential energy. A ball on a six-story building has more potential energy than one on a three-story building. As a matter of fact, the doubling of the height doubles the potential energy.
At the baseball game, when I started thinking about potential energy, I was considering it in regards to me—and you, for that matter. You see, it has been said that from those to whom much has been given much is expected. Based on the fact that you have access to a computer, understand how to read and have a thirst for learning, you have been given much. Or, in scientific terms, you have tremendous potential energy. You are like that rock on a tall building. However, if you sit there, the potential energy is never utilized or accessed.
One of the greatest tragedies of life is when an individual has tremendous potential energy and squanders it. That is one of my greatest fears. I am constantly faced with the prospect of not using my potential energy. To me, that is one of my largest motivating factors. Every day as I age, I look in the mirror and question if I did everything I could to use my potential energy. Did I do everything I could to figuratively jump off that building and expend the energy?
Pent up inside of you right now is tremendous potential energy that could be utilized to cure cancer, send humans to Mars, write a novel or become president of the United States. The great tragedy is not expending your potential energy and falling short. The great tragedy of life is to be that boulder—to have tremendous potential energy—and squander it through inaction.
There you have it. I was thinking about potential at the baseball game. I was thinking about it because I know that humans with nothing more than primitive tools constructed the pyramids, Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. These are testaments to human potential. They are testaments to certain individuals thousands of years ago expending their potential energy for the ages to witness and marvel at. The challenge today for you may not be a monument for society or culture; however, it is a call for you to understand potential energy and implore you to seize yours.