One year from now, I don’t want to be the same person as I am today. I want to grow. I want to become better and better.
One way to do that, I realize, is by expanding my personal capacity. Expanding my capacity means being able to do things I wasn’t capable of before. It means being able to handle things I previously couldn’t. If you consciously decide to expand your capacity, you will become a different person in the future. You will look back and see how much you’ve grown.
Here are eight tips to expand your personal capacity:
1. Take a new challenge
Expanding your capacity is like weight lifting. If you are able to lift 100 pounds but keep lifting that all the time, your capacity won’t increase. You need to move to the next level and lift something heavier. It will feel difficult at first, but over time it will become easy. Then, once you become comfortable with it, you should lift something even heavier.
Similarly, to expand your capacity you must take new challenges beyond your comfort zone. Work on something you aren’t comfortable with.
Look at your current situation. How long have you been doing what you’re doing? When was the last time you took a new challenge? If you find yourself in a comfort zone then shake things up. Find a new challenge and take it.
In my case, I realize that I didn’t take a new challenge in the last year or two. I lifted the same weight for far too long. Now that I learn the importance of expanding my capacity, I’m working on a new challenge.
2. Make sure it’s exciting
When you are looking for a challenge to take, make sure that it’s something you are excited about. I’ve tried to work on a challenge I wasn’t excited about. The results? Wasted time, money, and effort. Working on something that’s not exciting feels like a chore. I must push myself to do it.
On the other hand, if I work on something exciting then working on it feels effortless. Sure, there are times when I need to motivate myself, but the total amount of energy needed to get things going is much, much lower. Furthermore, I enjoy the time working on it. I want more of it, not less. As a result, I move further ahead.
3. Make it fun
Not only should you take an exciting challenge, but also you should make the process fun. In my case, I like to think of a challenge as a game. I have a challenge to overcome and I have some resources at hand. I need to allocate my resources wisely and work my way over the obstacles. There are surprises and pitfalls along the way. Isn’t it just like a game?
Thinking of a challenge as a game makes me more excited about it. It also makes it easier to handle failure. After all, loses are normal in games. They are something I need to go through if I want to become a better player. Rather than discouraging me, they make me even more motivated to increase my playing skill.
If the challenge is beyond your comfort zone, as it should be, then it won’t be easy. You need to focus your heart and mind on it. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t try to do too many things at once. That’s a sure recipe for failure.
Some people are willing to take a new challenge but hesitant to invest their time and money in it. But if it’s a worthy challenge then it’s worth your time and money. There’s no reason not to invest in it.
Remember the game metaphor above? The resources you have in a game are there to help you achieve the game’s objective. You should invest them in weapons, buildings, and whatever other tools you need to achieve the objective. Similarly, you should invest your resources to expand your capacity. Don’t do it above your mean, of course, but you get the point.
6. Take risks
The more you know about something, the less the risks involved. But in the beginning, when you are working on something new, risks are inevitable. Don’t be afraid to take them. Those who aren’t willing to take risks may never move to the next level. You might fail but you will learn a lot in the process. They will make you a better player.
People who just play safe will regret all the opportunities they’ve wasted in life. I don’t want to be that kind of people. I might fail, but at least I won’t regret myself for not trying.
7. Build the desire to “kill”
Your progress will be faster if you have the desire to “kill” your “enemy”, which in this case is the challenge you take. This desire will fuel your effort every day to get better at what you do. It will also make you more resilient in the face of difficulties and failures. Without such a desire, your progress will be slow.
8. Move on
Once you achieve certain level of mastery in a particular challenge, move on and take a new, more difficult challenge. Don’t stop and be comfortable with where you are. Keep expanding your capacity.
Photo by Jakob Montrasio