You might say your potential is part of you. But it is a very specific part: your potential is the part of you that doesn't exist.
What others see is what you've shown. They believe what they've seen. They do well to. That is who you are. And it is what you are capable of.
You exist in a constant and evolving state, different parts visible to different beholders, but everything they've seen is real. You stand right now having been the best person you are or have ever been, many times, and in every way and where you have shown yourself capable. That's the self you create. You have created it, and you are right now. You are all of that, and the scary part is: you are capable of better.
I don't mean you need to go out and break your personal bench press record. Your personal bench press record is a part of you already. Pursue a new one if it amuses you, and if your wrists and elbows can still take it. Mine can't, but one time in the garage in front of two miffed witnesses I weighed one hundred and fifty five pounds. Then I bench pressed two sixty five. That still deeply amuses me! It was ultimately worth the tendon damage, because my wrists don't hurt unless I bench press anyway. Why bother? Whatever the point of bench pressing is, that point was proved to my satisfaction. I'm not particularly interested in impressing the East Ukrainian judge.
Your personal best is yours. Your personal best is you. It's already you. It has been and continues to be: you, part of the self you created. You aren't in competition with it. What I mean is that whatever you've ever done, whatever has struck anyone's eyes amazed, whatever little thing or touch or word you put in, something that in somebody's mind or heart made them realize they know you, or love you, or trust you, and think highly of you - a hundred things, maybe, different things for anyone you know! Every personal best you've ever pulled, deliberately or not, calculated or not! Determined or not. I'm saying it wasn't faked. Any of it. It was just you. You are the act you put on, and the choice you make, and the word you state. It was just the self that you made that day.
And sure, you may have had some performance goal in mind, to impress someone, to win some thing, but that doesn't matter. Ulterior is not false. We all of us, sometimes at least, want to come off as our best, especially in front of specific someones. But too many of us don't realize that after we've pulled it off - no, it wasn't a trick. It was something you actually did, and can do! You are that person, who can do things like that. And if your word, your choice, your act may have served some additional purpose in their eyes, that's fine too. But first and foremost, that word, that choice, that act spoke for itself: in an act of creation. Concrete. It has passed from the potential through the possible, and into the actual. No matter how improbable it might have looked to oddsmakers before it happened, there was a game-breaking play you made that cannot now be unmade. Your act has passed from imagination into fact. It's always doing that. It has made you you, and it continues to.
You change who you are forever, when you pull something off like that. For whoever has seen or believed it, you will forever be the kind of person who could do something like that. Who did.
No matter who knows how many people benefit in how many different ways from your great act that goes over so well, that act is not just some fake show that was put on or put over. Even if you wish to insist your act had some measure of duplicity to it, some heroic con, the fact is: you pulled it off. What you pulled off was not a trick, but a curtain. You pulled away the cover, and the show was who you are. What you're capable of. You can grin and think there was some trick involved in the act you made, but don't kid yourself that anyone else was fooled. They saw you. And what you did, for whatever reason you want to put to it now, was simply what you could do. The best of how anyone has ever seen you, is you. Really, now. And the best you are is a thing you could be in any given moment.
And you don't even have to try hard! And you don't have to worry about it. You don't have to hit a single mark. You just have to enjoy being that person. You know the one! Your favorite you. The one who surprises you, let alone other people! The you who you kind of secretly have a crush on, a little bit - the vain yet somehow selfless hero of your little secret autobiography that you've been plotting out in your spare time, and composing every moment. Whatever ways you may have impressed yourself in the past, you are already that person: the one who can do even better than that, pretty much at the drop of a hat. Whenever the chance happens to present itself.
Of course chance does come into it, or better yet, chances do. Opportunity comes into it. We don't at every waking moment run into the chance to do something that stamps a revelation on ourselves or another's forehead. A chance to just utterly fucking make who we are, and what we are capable of. Opportunity is deeply involved in it, but to nowhere near the degree that motive and opportunity are involved. Because as you walk around, if the best you are is who you really kind of actually secretly want to be, then any given moment suddenly threatens to present these great little opportunities. Great and small. And increasingly - on purpose, even! - you seize them. You walk right into them, impromptu, as you create your me.
You can be a little smug about it! It's okay. You're not perfect by any means. Everybody knows you know that. And who cares for perfect, anyway? The best you can be has nothing to do with the worst flails and failures and accidental catastrophes, the disgraceful, very bad deliberate decisions you've sprawled and will sprawl across the eyewitness of others as you go. The best you are is a person who includes the worst you've done, alas. The best that you can possibly be is still a human being. The best you have ever been is always someone who gets to fuck up. It's allowed. You can even be forgiven for it. Who needs to forgive you? An even better question might be: who do you want to be?
Motive, opportunity, potential - potential is some part of it, too. You are also the fact that you can do better, in addition to being who you are, in addition to being what you have proved capable of. But as was said: your potential is the part of you that doesn't exist. Your potential is the part of you that may never exist. You don't even have to worry about it. Though you may have a pretty good idea, or you may have a very bad idea, really you have no idea what your potential is. You don't have to live up to it. Your potential pales into mists and dreams, next to the best you've ever been. The best you are.
You could do better.