Richard Chilee: Potential or performance, which do you choose? (30 Days, 30 Voices)


The cold hard truth is that you are not special because of your potential; you are special because of your unflinching pursuit of your potential, even more special when you have performed no matter how small.

Last week, I had a very heated conversation, not argument, on twitter with some beautiful minds on whether, or not, a lady should marry a brother with nothing to show but full of Potential. My opinion on the conversation centred on the fact that I don’t believe in brothers with potentials, I strongly believe in a brother with a proven track record, a Performance history, not Potential.

Now, what is Potential? Potential is an ability that is capable of being in existence BUT not yet in existence. It is an inherent ability that has the possibility, capability or power to be harnessed into something real BUT not yet visible. In physics, Potential energy is the energy an object or body due to its static position; it is latent and directly opposite to Kinetic energy; the energy of a moving object.

Here’s the thing, everyone one of us in life have Potentials, maybe some more than others, but we all have it. It is very easy to recognise but often very difficult to realise. Majority of us internally recognise that we have this gift of Potential but many choose to do nothing about it. It’s a sad realisation that only a few will realise their Potentials. I have met people with a Potential of a million dollar but lack the zeal, courage and passion to follow through to where it leads.

Having a gift is one thing, utilizing that gift is another thing. Performing power is that innate strength of character that enables a person to fully utilize his Potential. Realizing your Potentials takes more than lip service and boyish swagger; it requires focus, determination and dedication. It takes a responsible, intelligent, courageous and honest mind to move from being a Potential person to a Performing person. The cold hard truth is that you are not special because of your Potential; you are special because of your unflinching pursuit of your Potential, even more special when you have performed, no matter how small.

On the marriage issue, believe me, if I was a lady, I will not listen to any brother that comes along preaching the ‘Potential’ scripture. I will simply ask you to show me the tangible evidence of where your Potential leads or where it is established, even if little. The size of your Performance doesn’t matter, what matters is that you have already started putting it to good use.

Most young men are using this “Potential” cliché as a pretext for deceiving themselves and young ladies. The question every lady out there should ask is “Is there anyone out there who does not have Potential?”

Michelle followed Obama through thick and thin, not only because she saw a young man full of Potential, she did because she saw a young man that will Responsibly, Intelligently, Courageously and Honestly follow through those Potentials through his Performance as a young lawyer in the law firm.

Every woman needs a Performing man that will assure her the good life, comfort and love that will guarantee the necessary material, spiritual and physical provision needed to keep a sustainable relationship. You must make sure your Potentials can supply these comforts. But be sure you have provided for yourself first, so that you can provide for her.

I’m not saying a brother must have a million dollars before running a successful relationship, I’m saying that a brother should have a proven life with a good living before choosing a life partner.

So brothers are you dedicated? Are you determined to put in the time and commitment to raise your bar and realise that Potential or will you just sit there and talk about it? Remember that it is easier to talk about your Potential than to fully realise it.


Richard Chilee is a a thinker, writer and entrepreneur. He loves words and enjoys having quality conversations.


30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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