“There is no heavier burden than unfulfilled potential.” —Charles Schulz
Contrary to popular belief, underachievers don’t underachieve because they want to. The reasons that they underachieve are plenty. You see, someone can have enormous amounts of potential, yet have no idea that it even exists or how to release it. It is common that those around the dissident thinker are more aware of their potential than they are. There may even be those that point it out and the dissident thinker disregards them or approaches their findings as skeptics. Moreover, if they do happen to concede to the possibility of potential, they are unaware of how to access it.
There exists a percentage of dissident thinkers who happen upon their potential and make a good bit of it reality. However, the vast majority have either only scratched the surface, stumbled upon a bit, or peaked then plateaued.
The phenomenon of not knowing what you want to be when you grow up, after you grow up, isn’t common to only dissidents. It’s part of the human condition. The condition has been exacerbated by the over-domestication of society.
If we were to look back on human history through the lense of anthropology, we’d find that dissidents were plenty. When you look at various people groups there were those that were nomadic, herdsman, blacksmiths, tinkerers, artists, gypsies, pioneers, warriors, etc. We’ve always existed. The only difference is that the background of society didn’t always provide such a stark contrast.
In light of this contrast, society can view underachieving dissident thinkers as lemons. They view their value as fluctuating against the backdrop of societal expectations and norms, instead of seeing their value as a fixed long term asset.
Here’s the thing about lemons, someone can go and purchase a “lemon” from an uniformed seller, and with a little elbow grease and spare parts, convert that lemon into a beautiful classic in pristine condition. While the market value of that vehicle changed radically, it’s inherent worth or potential, did not.
Dissident thinkers need someone who is able to look into their souls, see the potential, and have the understanding to help them cultivate it.