What Fulfilling Your Potential Feels Like: A 21st-Century Microstory

Vishnu Kumar
3 min readApr 5, 2021


It’s inside you, too. Photo by Bret K. on Unsplash

You coerce your last two brain cells into getting started.

Minutes later, you experience a half-second of frustration.

They ask: “Another cup of coffee?”

You wander into the kitchen in a haze. You open the bag of Kettle Chips.

You look down. The bag’s empty.

Your phone lights up. It might be important. You come to when you’ve run out of stories.

You tell yourself it’s normal to feel this way — overwhelmed and pulled in a million different directions every day. Everyone feels like this.

But deep down: you know something isn’t right.

You remember a quote you heard a lifetime ago:

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

You’ve always wanted to look and feel confident in your own skin — like the models on your feed — but you’ve never been able to pull it off.

Your first bite? Exercise.

You start small — doing whatever it takes to get through the 20 minutes each day.

You keep at it, day after day, for a few months. At some point, you start to crave those 20 minutes.

A few months later, your appetite has grown. You always feel good and focused after a sweat. You love the way it clears your mind and you want more of that clarity.

The next day you run into the usual frustration, mid-work. You tap the app for the usual dopamine hit — and find yourself holding for a few extra seconds.

It wiggles and you hit the X. See ya.

You pop in Airpods for a quick meditation at your desk and repeat that every day — for another few months — until it feels weird going to bed without having done it.

You start to wake up feeling different — mind buzzing with ideas. You feel like a kid again.

The smart half of you tells you to do something with the ideas. You put pen to paper, 10 minutes at a time, and ideas spill out of you — for work, for life, for the future.

You start to crave flexing this creative muscle. Without it, your day feels duller — less brimming with opportunity.

You wake up one morning, 9 months later, and get a workout in. You journal. You catch a glimpse of your reflection.


You smile to yourself and flex, inspecting them from different angles.

You sit down and start working. You blink and it’s 3 hours later — you’ve finished the day’s work.

You would have asked for extra time a year ago. Your boss hints at a promotion.

After dinner, your phone lights up — an email from an old friend: “Love your article!!”

You brush your teeth and climb into bed.

You fall asleep with a smile on your face and visions in your mind for tomorrow.