The Untapped Potential

By Job Lazarus Okello • September 10, 2017

When I, together with a friend, visited a professor of Gulu University in early August 2017, he took us to a cemetery bordering his home. It lies a few meters away from his home, in the South-West. At first both I and Angel, for that was my friend’s name, were astonished by what the Professor was doing. We were fearing to step into the cemetery; however, he told us to be bold enough to walk into it with him. When we entered, he told us to walk around in the cemetery and he would then ask each of us to tell him the lessons we would have learnt. We were to take different directions and not focus on whatever the other would be doing as that would affect our concentration since out attention would be divided. He instructed each of us to focus on whatever we would see and envision.

He went out and stood at the rust-brown metallic gate of the cemetery. Our assignment, which was to take exactly 30 minutes, then began. Both Angel and I looked at each other horrifically. I noticed how frightened she was, a clear indication that she could have never been to a cemetery before and yet here she was surrounded by graves all over. I started walking, taking the southern direction. Moving from one grave to the other, trying to read the writings on the tombstones. Others were visible while others were almost not clear enough to be comprehended. Angel also later took her direction, tiptoeing slowly and horrendously among the numerous graves in the Eastern direction which she took.

As I walked majestically among the graves, I noticed what was written on one of them. I was amazed at the writing and almost droplets of tears started forming in my eyes. It was written “Where you are, I was; and where I am, you will be. Live your life well so that you don’t regret after. Die empty; hold back nothing. To not live the purposes for your creation is a grave mistake” This among the many things I saw and learnt in the cemetery stunned me.

Pretty soon the 30 minutes were over and the Professor called us to go to him. We then sat under a mango tree in front of his house. The look on our faces could make one believe that we were from the world of the dead. Even the Professor was scared since the excitement with which we entered his thrilling compound had vanished in thin air. It was then time to share what each of us had learnt. Angel was to go first.

“I told you from the beginning that today you would learn the best lesson of your lives ever. So what did you guys learn? “asked the Professor.

“I learnt that while you are alive, you should treat people well; don’t treat yourself as if you are superior, be compassionate. No one is superior to anyone. When we die, to the dust we all return for from it, we all came. We don’t own the world we live in rather we are just passers-by. The world isn’t our destiny. This is from what I saw on the graves.” Answered Angel, looking a bit relieved.

“Wao! That’s great Angel!” said the Professor. “What a great lesson! And you Lazarus?” He asked.

I was lost in thoughts up to this time but I had to quickly recollect myself to prove to the Professor that he’s right to believe in me-that I am a man with a lot of potential.

“Well, I realize that there’s nothing as important as life. It’s so precious that we have to safeguard it covetously. We can’t create life; we shouldn’t therefore take it. It’s something very sacred. On one of the graves on the tombstones, it was written about the dead man that he was slaughtered like an animal, for what he didn’t take part in. As human beings, we should really value life. Only God has the right to take it. I also learnt that we are born empty materially and we leave this earth empty. It doesn’t matter how much you have achieved. The houses you have built, assets accumulated, and whatever you have labored so much to gather, all will be left on earth when you breathe your last. What then should you do? Just one thing! Yes one thing! Live your life for God-Entrust your life fully unto him. There’s nothing we can gain from this world and die and go with. I also learnt that we should give ourselves fully to serving God; for there’s nothing better than that, that we can do with our lives on earth. Finally, I also learnt that in the grave, lies a lot of untapped potential. A lot of people lived lives of unfulfilled dreams and unrealized potential. They never discovered the purposes for which they were created and therefore never lived those purposes. We should therefore discover why we were created and live those purposes; then we shall leave behind, a legacy the world will remember us for. It’s just a matter of choice. We can choose to discover or not, our purposes.” I answered. By this time, both the Professor and Angel were looking at me the way a dog looks at meat being roasted in an incarcerated area.

“Wao! Wao! Waooooooo! This is incredible Lazarus. I see how great you are. While you were speaking, I heard what I had never made out before. I have been walking into this cemetery for years but hadn’t learnt what you said. Am so proud of you guys. You visited the professor today and you learnt a lot I suppose. From this point, am sure you guys are going to look at life in different perspectives.” He remarked.

“Oh yes Sir!” Both Angel and I answered in chorus.

“No go and take the necessary precautions. And make the most out of your lives.” He said as he dismissed us.

“Thanks a lot Professor” We said as we bade farewell to him and vacated his lonely homestead. Angel then asked me why I brought her to see the Professor, who tortured her that much, because according to her submissions, assuredly she had never imagined herself even just standing in a cemetery, yet she had to walk around and tour one that day. I later encouraged her to be strong and told her that’s not even the least of what I expected. We went back with different mindsets-the way each of us viewed life had enormously changed.

I didn’t really want to write this article you are reading however the thought of it being helpful in awakening someone made me pen down what happened chronologically. Have you ever been to a cemetery? Or perhaps a graveyard? You may or may not! However, even though you haven’t been there, at least you surely know how a graveyard looks like and how lonely it is. In fact, one of the most silent places on earth is the cemetery. It sounds scaring to imagine yourself standing there, why? Because while there, you would be all surrounded by graves. However, what remains true is that those in the graves were once like you and you will one day be like them. What then is important? You will agree with me that the world over, a lot of people go to the grave with their potential untapped. Some never discovered their potential so that they could utilize it, while others discovered theirs but because they were to obsessed with other people’s lives, they wanted to live exactly like ! them and ended up failing to live their own lives and hence their potential was untapped; they died and went seven feet down the earth, with their potential unexploited. How ill-fated that’s!

Most people don’t ever seek to discover why they were created. They therefore don’t get to know the purposes for which God created them. Such people when you ask them why they also had to be created, they have answer, not even a clue can they give you. They live as if they just came to tour the earth, to only pass through it. Many people live lives of unfulfilled purposes simply because they can’t even for a second think that there should be a reason for which they’re created. You were not just created to pass through the earth, rather to bring something new into it and you can you do that? By discovering and living the purposes for which you were created.

It’s your responsibility to discover why you were created. You can’t live your purposes unless you discover them. It takes strenuous efforts to discover these purposes. Without this discovery, you will live a purposeless life and die and go down into the grave with untapped potential. There are purposes for which everyone was created. if this were not so, there would be no reason for you and me to have been created-because we would be of no use-we would be liabilities instead of assets. You are of no use without the purposes for which you were created.

As human beings, we are meant to subdue the earth-to positively transform it; however, for that to happen, we have to discover our purposes first. Without discovering them, you can’t be a person of impact. You can’t transform lives. Why? Because you are meant to change the world with your purposes by discovering and living the purposes for which you were created. A lot of people think that for them to transform the world or be influential, they must first be extremely rich-they should own expensive houses, drive the most expensive cars, hold billions on their Bank accounts, etc. This is an idiocy. Your true wealth is what you’re created with; for no one can take that away from you. No one is born with money, house, car or plane. We all find these things on earth and we leave them on earth. They are all of no use to a dead person.

What legacy will you leave behind when you die? What will the world miss you for if you die? In other words what contributions are you making to the world? What are you doing to make the world a better place-to positively transform it? I challenge you to fully discover yourself, get to know the purposes for which you’re created, know your potential and tap it. Make the best use of your potential. Once you do that, you will never die, you know why and how? Because you will always live in the minds of people, for the great things you will have done. Believe me Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as one of the people who changed the world. He wasn’t any exceptional, rather he just discovered his purposes and live them. He didn’t desire to live another man’s life. One of the greatest mistakes you can ever make, that will prevent you from discovering your purposes and therefore fulfilling them, is trying to live other people’s lives. You are created to live your own and idiosyncratic life. You can’t be influential and make a difference in the world when you are trying to live the lives of others. Those the world consider great men never tried to live other people’s lives; they lived their own lives. To become a master in your game, you have to be yourself. No one is another person’s prototype. Don’t just seek to become like someone, rather seek to discover yourself, because one you know yourself, then you are good to go; for no one can then cause you not to believe in yourself. And please don’t always compare yourself with others; remember they have different lives to live and you have your own to live also. You can however learn from them.; while doing so, always keep in mind that you are unique in your own way. How influential you are isn’t measured by the difference between you and others but by the difference between what you do and what you’re created to do-you purposes. You may not do what others can do, have done or will do but that doesn’t mean you can’t live your purposes. We have different abilities, that’s why we do things differently and levels of achievements as well do vary. The fact that someone has more money than you doesn’t mean you have missed your mark or they have achieved more than you. However wealthy you are, unless you discover your purposes of creation, you will live a purposeless live. You will die with all you potential and be buried with it. I know of no better way of putting your potential to waste than this.

Some people get to know their purposes but fail to live them, they also never fulfill them. I am normally amazed by those who struggle so much to know other people’s lives to the dot. They spend a lot of time studying other people, to get to know them; but they don’t spend time to know themselves. They know other people more than them know themselves. This is a clear indication that someone has missed their mark. Such people can’t leave behind a legacy that the world can admire when they die. Sincerely how do you expect to become a better person than you were yesterday if you don’t even know yourself? It doesn’t really work out like that because you can’t better what you don’t know and therefore can’t understand. If you really want to grow and mature in life, then you have to be in proper knowledge of yourself. Living your purposes starts with knowing yourself first. You have to do self-evaluation to determine the kind of person you are so that you can become! what you want to become. Time spent getting to know yourself is time never wasted. We all need to consistently examine ourselves so that we can become what we desire to become and therefore better our lives. The dead can in no way reverse their conditions yet the living still have a lot of chances to become what they’re created to be. Spent time with yourself, get to discover God’s purposes for your life and live them so that you don’t live a life of purposelessness. When you die, the world will surely remember you for giving your all and holding back nothing. Don’t die with untapped potential. Discover yours and fully utilize it. Die empty. Don’t go into the grave with untapped potential and unrealized. Discover them today and live them. Don’t wait when it’s too late to do the needful. You have limited time on earth but that time, when utilized living your purposes, is enough.

About the author:

Job Lazarus Okello Sr is a motivational speaker and author, born in Uganda in the strikingly beautiful district of Gulu to Florence Auma and John Ongom. He reflects a varied personality including ambition and the qualities of inspiration, generosity and thoughtfulness. He is also a well determined and vigorous individual, yet pleasantly calm. He attends Christian Missionary Fellowship International (CMFI) Kampala, the church that pours spiritual wisdom into his precious life. Currently (2017), he is a full-time student pursuing Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Makerere University, Uganda’s oldest University and the prime academic institution in the country.


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