Within you is a vast treasure awaiting rediscovery. You have more power, potential, and capability than you realize. A sculptor looking at a piece of marble sees a figure waiting to be revealed. The sculptor’s job is to remove enough stone to expose the silhouette.

What abilities, talents and desires do you possess that are waiting to be uncovered? Why is it that inner treasures are not always obvious? Let’s follow a person’s development from birth to adulthood.

When a baby is born, he or she has no concept of fear, failure or danger. We’ll call the baby Alice. Her imagination and dreams are limitless. Yet, she’s completely vulnerable to her environment.

Alice is totally dependent on her parents for food, shelter and protection. As Alice grows, her parents teach her the dangers of her surroundings. She learns what she can’t or is not allowed to do. There is little, if any, emphasis on teaching her how to fully realize her potential.

Alice starts school and begins her formal education. That process includes learning proper rules of behavior. Rules, by their nature, outline what is not allowed or acceptable. Again, there is little or no emphasis on how to fully realize one’s potential.

Alice’s education constantly imposes limitations. There are several interesting examples that illustrate the impact learned limitations can have. Put a flea into a small jar with a glass top. The flea quickly determines that there is a limit to how high it can jump. Remove the glass top and the flea, due to its conditioning, won’t jump out of the jar even though it has the capability to do so.

Take a fish tank and divide it in half with a piece of glass. Put several fish on one side. The fish will hit the divider until they learn where the swimming limits are. Remove the divider and the fish will still remain on one side of the tank.

The educational system and societal constraints are the equivalent of the jar top and fish tank divider on Alice’s development.

As Alice grows and interacts with others she will be exposed to jealousy. People tend to be envious of what someone else may have. Jealousy can manifest itself through ridicule, and alienation. If Alice shows ambition, unique abilities or talents she may find herself being rejected.

Each time Alice experiences a negative reaction, a layer of stone forms around her dreams. She finds it easier to go with the flow and be accepted rather than blaze her own trail.

Alice finishes school and begins working. She may not be doing the kind of work she once dreamed of due to all of the limitations imposed on her while growing up.

If Alice shows too much enthusiasm or ambition she may be admonished by her coworkers. She could be denied a promotion while someone less capable moves ahead because they are more adept at office politics.

Alice might want to go back to school to further her education or change careers. Perhaps she wants to start her own business. Her family and friends discourage her from being “unrealistic.” Once again, a layer of stone is added as she receives little or no encouragement. Alice’s dreams, aspirations, and abilities become so deeply buried that she forgets they ever existed.

Everyone has a buried treasure waiting to be rediscovered. What is yours? Uncover it and your life will be enriched in unimaginable ways.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

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