“Potential is one of those words that is a double-edged sword… You never want to be the player with potential for too long.”

Even though I don’t really have the chance to play video games as often as I once did, I still watch a lot of video games online. In particular, I am and have always been a big fan of the entire Street Fighter franchise. In addition to the major tournaments that roll through now and then, one of my favorite rituals every Sunday is to watch the newest episode of Excellent Adventures of Gootecks and Mike Ross.

They recently had Bobby Scar of Super Smash Bros. Melee fame on as a special guest and he dropped some keen words of wisdom in between throwing fireballs and teching throws.

It’s far too easy to dismiss the advice of a “professional gamer” as it relates to a particular video game, because many people may assume that these sorts of insights don’t apply to the real world. And they’d be wrong. The truth of the matter is that insights, inspiration and wisdom can take on so many different forms and can be adapted to nearly every scenario. I learned a lot about how to be an entrepreneur from playing Street Fighter.

The quote above, which was taken from episode 84 of Excellent Adventures (embedded below), is a prime example of this. When Mike Ross proclaimed that Bobby Scar could have the potential to be an exceptional Street Fighter player, Bobby Scar explained how potential isn’t necessarily a good thing. How many times have we seen bright children demonstrate their potential in school, only to end up leading a rather mediocre and mundane life when they get older?

Having potential is like having an open door. It doesn’t do you much good unless you choose to step through it. Potential, on its own, is basically useless. You need to fully realize your potential in order for it to have any real value. Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez expands on this line of thinking:

“Potential is a temporary state. And now, once you have deemed to ‘have it,’ now you’re gonna have to turn your potential caterpillar into a blossoming butterfly.”

To be a player, an artist or a budding entrepreneur with great potential can only get you so far. If you’re stagnate in the “caterpillar” state and never take your “game” to the next level, you will never evolve into the butterfly you should aspire to become.

As Mike Ross might say, you’ve got to “do work” if you ever want to succeed.