Entelechy is a Greek word that means “the fullest realized essence of a thing.”
I love this word. Even more, I love this concept. And I especially love this concept when it’s applied to people.
I love the idea that within each of us lies the potential to become fully realized, fully ourselves.
The analogy that’s frequently used to illustrate this idea is the acorn. And yes, this is a great symbol of how much power and potential can be locked inside even a very small seed (or person or project). It’s a great reminder that even if we feel like we’re at the very early stages of development (of a business, a creative endeavor, or ourselves), we have the capacity to create and become something grand, magnificent, and fully realized.
This doesn’t mean that an acorn is not magnificent in and of itself. It is magnificent as an acorn. It is magnificent when it grows into a small shrub. And it is magnificent when it becomes a fully grown oak tree — its entelechy — just as we are magnificent at every stage of development.
If you’re ever feeling frustrated about where you are, it’s encouraging to remember the acorn — to let it remind you that you’re constantly becoming, moving toward your own entelechy…even if no one else can see it yet — even if you can’t even see it yourself!
On top of this, human beings have several advantages over acorns:
- The acorn doesn’t get to decide what it wants to be when it grows up, but WE do.
- We can change our mind at any point and head in a new direction.
- We can also reach full maturity (as an adult and/or in a chosen field) and then decide that we’d like to switch, to become something else.
- Or we can be two or more (perhaps MANY more) things at once!
In short, we get all the reassuring benefit of knowing that we’re always in the process of becoming — of realizing our entelechy — and we also get the benefit of free will and self-determination.
Plus, we’re surrounded by wonderful role models — in nature, in business, and in all areas of human life — serving as living testaments to the possibilities of life and the beautiful aspects inherent in all stages of development.
What is your entelechy? What are you becoming? Even if you don’t know the details, doesn’t it feel reassuring — and exciting — to know that you are still in the midst of a grand process of ever-increasing fulfillment, growth, and self-realization?