I was rushing through the Vancouver airport last Wednesday when a poster caught my eye.  It said, “The World Belongs To Those Who See Its Potential.”

This seemed like such a powerful statement to be up there on the airport wall.  Clearly, messages come in all shapes and sizes and you never know where you’ll come across them.  I wonder how many thousands of people walk by that sign each day and don’t pay any attention to it and don’t get the message.  I imagine it’s the people who don’t see the potential in the world who aren’t paying much attention, and the ones that do, probably do.

These words stayed with me as I made my way along the winding corridors and waited my turn to clear customs.  I continued thinking about them during the 30-minute cab ride into downtown Vancouver, and throughout that evening, as I took a run along the water and wandered through downtown Vancouver.

I was in Vancouver to attend a seminar hosted by my friend and mentor Andrea J. Lee. The seminar was held in a very cool location—the CBC Radio Broadcasting Studio in downtown Vancouver.  Not surprising that Andrea would choose such a unique venue– she’s one of the cooler people I know. When I entered the studio the following morning there were already about 70 people there, and I could feel a palpable vibration of positive energy and excitement.  Over the next 3 ½ days, I was stimulated, challenged, embraced and inspired by some very creative and successful thought leaders.  These were people who truly see the potential that exists in the world.  These are people I am blessed to consider friends and collaborators.

I also see great potential in the world.  I guess that means the world is mine (and I do feel that way.) I see potential everywhere! It drives my wife nuts.  Almost everywhere I turn I see or hear something that gets my creative juices flowing and makes me think “how” or “what if” or “why not.”  I’m lucky to have Sandy around to balance me out and keep me focused.

How about you?  Do you see everything as a potential opportunity, or are you more likely to see potential obstacles and likely roadblocks?  It’s this distinction, more than anything else, which determines the quality of your life.  Obstacles are real, no doubt about it.  But those who view obstacles as hindrances, or reasons to give up, will never achieve real happiness or success.  Truly happy and successful people always look for, and almost always find, the silver lining in everything that appears to be an obstacle.  Truly happy and successful people see “the bright side” of just about everything.

Perhaps there’s an “optimism gene” that’s activated in some people and not in others.  If there is, I’m sure that gene is present in all of us, though for various reasons it’s not being expressed fully (or at all) in many people.  My job is to help activate that gene in as many people as I can, so they start believing in opportunity and possibility again.  So they can be hopeful and excited about life.

How do I accomplish this?  By helping people see and love themselves as they truly are, deep down, at their core. There’s a perfectly magnificent being within each of us.  To recognize the potential of the world, all you need to do is recognize the potential in yourself.


Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Guthrie supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Guthrie is making practice purposeful.

About the Author:  Dr. Bob Uslander is an emergency physician and for the past 20 years he has taken care of thousands of people suffering from pain, fear or both.