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The library of essays of Proakatemia

People around you

Kirjoittanut: Marjut Palonen - tiimistä Evision.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement
Shawn Achor
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

People around you


When I started studying in Proakatemia, I think already in my first week I heard about this book Big Potential. I heard it was amazing and suits perfectly in teamwork. I have chosen to read this book to know what it is all about. The book is published in 2018 and this is the first edition of it. The writer Shawn Achor is a researcher of happiness, success and potential.


This book called Big potential is about revealing a potential behind working alone versus working with people around you. The name of the book tells us the summary of the books main message – the big potential, and how it means that working with others you can achieve more than working just by yourself.


The base of the book is eight research projects that Achor has made combined to his creation of a practical approach to the subject.


“SMALL POTENTIAL is the limited success you can achieve alone.

BIG POTENTIAL is the success you can achieve only in a Virtuous Cycle with others” (Achor).


The big problem with small potential


Achor uses Harvard students as an example. Girl who studies alone in her dormitory, and in a library, might not get such as good results in her degree, comparing to girl who attends student events. Point is that having a human connection while learning new knowledge, helps you to internalize it. Being able to reflect your knowledge with others, gives us a wider point of view of the matter.


Small potential means the things you can accomplish by yourself. Of course, it is important that you can do an individual performance. Being able to recognize your own weaknesses and strengths helps you to grow. Also being aware of those, you have a possibility to harness big potential. But when you stop talking about your own features and start to ask people about themselves and praise others, you actually get more.


Asking how your team member is doing, or what they are doing, could end up being a really meaningful conversation.


The seeds of big potential


All starts by surrounding yourself with the best people you can. To all of us it means different kind of people. The key is to find people that challenge you in a positive way to grow as a human. It might mean a person with really high IQ or it might not. It depends on what kind of person you are.


When you find and harness your potential, it is not there to stay forever. It needs nurturing and developing as time goes on. People you need, might chance during your life, and it is okey and acceptable. During the path to finding the big potential in your life, you come across many emotions both negative and positive. Both of them are necessary and useful in the process. It is important to acknowledge them and use them as a kind of a fuel. Emotions always tells us something, we just have to listen. Negative emotions also can be source of strength.

Not only people and emotions affect us. Our surroundings are also big part of our mental stage – the surrounding can for example help us to relax, or in a contrary make us more stressed. Achor tells about a research that reveled, that observing someone who is stressed can have an immediate effect to our brains -stress hormone cortisol goes up. This was tested by putting people to watch stressful video. Image how real life situations and surroundings affect to us. Nowadays we are exposed to other people and their emotions practically all our waking hours. We absorb our surroundings constantly. Fortunately there is a way to control that by learning strategies to deal with it. The book offers five strategies – “Build a moat, build a mental stronghold, Learn the art of mental Aikido, Take a vacation from your problems, Pick your battles. (Achor)”




We all have potential to achieve amazing things. It is built in all of us, in all living things. To get to your highest possible level of yourself, you need other people. Surrounding yourself with people who have right kind of influence on you, you are able to grow to be the best version yourself.


The key isn’t just to work and be surrounded with people. The main point is to help and connect with others. When you help others, it creates kind of a mirror that reflects all the good you give to others back to you. And that is called Virtuous cycle.

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