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I am Potential

July 1, 2009

IAmPotentialBookJacketBook Review

 I am Potential: Eight Lessons on Living, Loving, and Reaching Your Dreams

By Patrick Henry Hughes, Patrick John Hughes, and Bryant Stamford


When Patrick Henry Hughes was just a baby, he discovered music, seemingly accidentally. While being cared for by his father one evening, Patrick Henry would not stop crying. In a last ditch effort to calm him down, his father sat the young child on top of the family piano and began playing. The crying stopped immediately. Fast forward to when Patrick Henry was nine months old. Sitting at the same piano with his father he was now learning how to match the simple notes that his father played. Over time his father continued to make the notes more complex, and Patrick Henry continued to play them. Things evolved to the point where, as a young child, Patrick Henry was playing the piano anytime he could, and he was improving constantly.

What makes this even more amazing than it already is, is that Patrick Henry Hughes was born with a rare genetic disorder which left him unable see, unable to straighten his arms, and unable to walk.

In I am Potential Patrick Henry shares with us what he has learned through his life experience, with a level of wisdom usually reserved for someone much older than twenty. He, along with his father and journalist Bryant Stamford, lead us through 8 amazing life lessons that include: “When life gives you lemons, accept them and be grateful”, “Live each day like it is the last day of summer vacation”, and “Be the you your mother would be proud of”. Each lesson is highlighted with examples from Patrick Henry’s life in his own words and in the words of his father.

One particular chapter called “Pursue your passion as if your life depended on it” stands out as the motto that defines Patrick Henry’s life. By pursuing his passion for music with all of his heart, Patrick Henry has created unbelievable opportunities for himself. He has travelled around the world to play the piano and give inspiring talks, connecting with thousands of people in the process. He has learned to play the trumpet, and though he must participate from a wheelchair with his father’s help, he plays that trumpet as a member of the Louisville University marching band. He and his family even received a new home from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Above all, one thing that Patrick Henry is clear about is how pursuing his passions have led to countless friendships. He outlines this in a beautiful quote:

“The piano has become more than a passion; it’s my way of connecting with folks who are strangers … [and] performing is more to me than sharing a love of music. It’s become the way I make friends – if people like what I’m doing, they might want to come up and meet me … So I view singing, the piano, and the trumpet as my calling cards”. 

What is most remarkable throughout the book is Patrick Henry’s attitude. When asked about a life without disability, he says he wouldn’t change a thing.  In spite of the extreme challenges he has faced, he chooses to focus on what his uniqueness has allowed him to accomplish, as opposed to what it has cost him, and that is an attitude that will continue to inspire everyone that he touches with his words.


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