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#14: The Law of Expansion

Growth Always Increases Your Capacity

 

"There is no finish line." -- Nike


Simon Sinek writes in his book, The Infinite Game, "infinite-minded leaders understand that “best” is not a permanent state. Instead, they strive to be “better.” “Better” suggests a journey of constant improvement and makes us feel like we are being invited to contribute our talents and energies to make progress in that journey."

Trade-Offs

If you think you've reached the top, it's time to check yourself. If you're still breathing and of sound mind, you still have room to keep increasing your capacity and be "better."


Authors Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Parker agree that "the potential that exists within us is limitless and largely untapped... when you this of limits, you create them."



The only way to increase your capacity internally is to change how you approach personal growth. Learning more information isn't enough; you must change your thinking and acting.


How to Increase Your thinking Capacity


1 - Stop Thinking "More Work" and Start Thinking "What Works?"

Because more of the same usually results in more of the same, more work will not necessarily increase your capacity. Instead, focus on what you must do, what you ought to do, and what you want to do. Ask yourself,

  • What am I required to do?

  • What gives the most significant return?

  • What gives me the greatest reward?


2 - Stop Thinking "Can I?" and Start Thinking "How Can I?"

"Can I?" is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a question that imposes limitations. But "How can I?" assumes there is a way; you need to find it. Most of your limitations are not based on a lack of ability but a lack of belief.


Every person has the potential to grow, expand, and achieve. The first step is believing that you can. The second is perseverance. As Price Pritchett says, "everything looks like a failure in the middle."


3 - Stop Thinking "One Door" and Start Thinking "Many Doors"

Expansion means:

  • There is more than one way to do something successfully.

  • The odds of arriving anywhere increase with creativity and adaptability.

  • Movement with intentionality creates possibilities.

  • Failures and setbacks can be great tools for learning.

  • Knowing the future is difficult; controlling the future is impossible.

  • Knowing today is essential; controlling today is possible.

  • Success is a result of continued action filled with continual adjustments.


“Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ” — Oliver Wendell Holmes


How to Increase Your Capacity for Action


1 - Stop Doing Only Those Things You Have Done Before and Start Doing Those Things You Could and Should Do

The process of expanding your potential is ongoing. It ebbs and flows; opportunities come and go, and the standards you must set for yourself are constantly changing. What you can do changes as you develop, and what you should do also evolves. And as hard as it can be, you must leave behind some old things to take on new ones.


2 - Stop Doing What is Expected and Start Doing More Than is Expected

To expand your potential, you have to rise above average by

  • Asking more of yourself than others ask of you

  • Expect more from yourself than others expect from you

  • Believe in yourself more than others believe in you

  • Do more than others think you should have to do

  • Give more than others think you should give

  • Help more than others think you ought to help

Doing more than is expected trains you to develop a habit for excellence that compounds over time. Continued excellence expands your capabilities and your potential.


3 - Stop Doing Important Things Occasionally and Start Doing Important Things Daily

To do what's not important every day does nothing for you. It merely uses up your time. To do the right thing only occasionally does not lead to consistent growth or expansion in your life. But consistently doing the right thing daily leads to personal expansion.


Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, "the purpose of an apple tree is to grow a little new wood each year. That's what I plan to do." He also wrote that our destined end is "to live that each tomorrow finds us further than today."


This week, consider if you have made the mental shift from "I can't" or "Can I?" to "How can I?" Ask yourself these questions and write the answers:

  • If I knew I could not fail, what would I attempt?

  • If I had no limitations, what would I like to do?

  • If finances were not an issue, what would I do with my life?

Do you look at them and think, "That's far-fetched" or "Impossible?" Or do you look at them and think, "How can I do that? What must I do or trade to make this happen?"


If your thoughts fall under the "I can't" responses, spend some time figuring out what's stopping you from believing you can make the changes necessary to expand your life.


Next, consider if you have a plan and a system to ensure you do what's important daily. Make a list of what is essential for you to do daily, then figure out how to follow through on each of those priorities every day to expand your potential.


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