In what ways is society keeping us from our full potiential?

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Before answering this question, let us bear in mind that there are different types of society and each one has its own culture and social structure that can actualize and hinder people’s potential and goal. It is really difficult to generalize to answer this question. Achieving one’s potential in primitive societies is different when done in urban and state societies. But we can assume here that we are dealing with the contemporary urban societies.

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First of all, society has an opportunity structure and social stratification. The opportunity structure determines how an individual can actualize his/her potential in whatever field s/he wishes to become. So there is some inequality here with regard to access to opportunities and societal benefits to achieve success and realize one’s dream.

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For instance, in the job market, not all people are qualified to apply and be accepted to the type of job they wish to work. Society through the corporate industry determines the qualifications and screens applicants when awarding job opportunities.

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Second, opportunity structure oftentimes is connected with the social stratification or classification of people in society which consists of social class and social status. The former refers to the classification of people based on the amount of wealth and property, while the latter refers to one’s marketable skills, credentials, and level of education.

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These 2 types of social classification of people in society are actually 2 major sources of power in the modern world which can greatly affect one’s access to opportunities in society. If one is rich or famous, s/he can easily use his/her resources and social connections to achieve what s/he wants in society.

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The poor and those with lower social status cannot just attain their potential in life because of social stratification. Studies show that the poverty does not only deprive people of material wealth but social options in society. Indeed power differentials in terms of wealth and social status can keep or allow people to achieve their full potential in society.

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