Expanding Your Capacity: 6 Challenges You Can Take This Year

We are still early in 2013, so it’s a good time to think about how to get the most out of this year. While there are several ways to do that, I’d like to focus on just one suggestion here: take a new challenge.

Taking a new challenge is a good way to expand your personal capacity. It helps you grow and achieve your full potential – just doing what you usually do won’t help you grow.

But what challenge should you take? Here are some ideas.

1. Start a side business.

I’m a big proponent of having side projects, and building a side business is a great project to embark on. It’s a good idea because you don’t need to leave your day job; you can keep your day job while building a small business in your spare time. Later, after your business has grown, you can consider quitting your job.

While these are not the only ways, here are some steps to start a side business:

  1. Identify your passions.
  2. Find a way to provide value based on your passions.
  3. Find ways to make money through it.
  4. Take action consistently to build the business.

For example, when I decided to build this blog, I identified two passions of mine: personal growth and writing (step 1). I then decided that starting a blog was a good way to provide value based on those two passions (step 2). To make money with it, I put some ads on the blog (step 3). I then wrote regularly on the blog (step 4).

2. Learn a new skill.

What skills do you think can enrich your work and life? Consider learning at least one of them this year. In my case, I want to learn speed reading, since I believe it will prove valuable.

The skill doesn’t have to be a mental skill. It can also be a physical skill (such as swimming) or an artistic skill (such as playing guitar).

3. Work on a social project.

Is there a cause in your society that you care about? For instance, you might be thinking of helping street children or the elderly. If that’s the case, then you might consider working on a social project. You can volunteer for an existing project or even start your own project.

4. Take an online course.

These days, you can take many online courses to educate yourself. Places like Coursera and Udacity allow you to learn together with other people, and they’re complete with the assessments.

5. Write a book.

If you have been thinking about writing a book, this year could be a good year to actually do it. The rise of self-publishing means that you can get your work directly to the readers without going through traditional gatekeepers such as agents and publishers.
Think carefully about the topic you want to write about, research it, and then write consistently every day. You can later publish the book through places like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

6. Experiment with outsourcing.

You can accomplish so much more if you use others’ time and skills instead of doing everything youself. These days, you can do that by outsourcing your tasks through places like Elance, oDesk, and Fiverr.

Outsourcing takes practice, so you might want to experiment with it this year. Start with simple tasks and go from there. Once you master outsourcing skills, you will be able to multiply your productivity.


These are some challenges that you can take this year to expand your capacity. Of course, there are many more possibilities out there.

What challenge do you plan to take this year? I’d like to hear from you in the comments.

Photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto


  1. Dr Prakash Moghe
    Dr Prakash Moghe

    I have been regular reader of this excellent newsletter. I am going to work through the ideas of stating a side business as well as working for a cause
    Thank and regards

  2. Hi,
    I have already started on doing something new. I actually took up the challenge of running an online business of which I no bothing about e-commerce but I’m gradually getting the feel of it.

  3. than q very much yours useful articles. i came from small village from India.more than 15 year i worked for some body since 2007 i started my own business iam very comfortable.but am poor in English writing this year my 2013 target is 1.learning English 2.body building. than q

  4. Thank you very much for this post! It is so useful for me just now!

  5. Good article Donald, and very timely as well! I would suggest that another area to consider is expanding your network. The more people who know you, the more likely it is you will find people who want to help you with your other objectives (side business, writing a book etc.) AND the more people you know, the more likely it is you’ll find someone who’s doing something you might want to help with.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Couldn’t agree more, may I suggest some reading material. The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman. This is an awesome read about one of the most detailed scientific studies into luck.
      The result of the study was you create your own luck through your perceptions and your network. There is no one person luckier than another from a purely statistical view point but if you put yourself out there you can generate you’re own luck.

    • That’s great advice, Patrick. Thanks!

  6. Great suggestions! I have already started a challenge this year. I have a photography business as a side job and I started a 365 project at the beginning of the year in which I post a photo every day to a project website. It has challenged me to take the extra time each day no matter the weather or schedule to devote to my photography.
    I have another book suggestion: Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman.

  7. I have read all your mails and I have got lots of benefits from them. I gotta tell ya you’re awesome.Thank You.
    I would like to share something today with you about expanding my capacity so I’d do all the steps first and then I’m gonna organize all the information that I have then I’m gonna work them out.
    What I have noticed from the step one that I could do a business myself first so I love this step. Actually what the most thing I love in my life is learning new languages and co-found some business relates on this area…

  8. Interesting that i’ve taken several of them on. I’ve got serious about my business, released a book, and learning new skills. Mostly working on writing better at the moment.

  9. Thanks for the tips.
    I’d really like to write a book, but I’m worried that I won’t focus enough on the quality as I spend most of my day writing already. One thing I’d love to learn more about is psychology, it fascinates me. I have to make sure I don’t become to diverse though! I’d rather be experienced in a few fields than weak in many.

  10. Thanks for the writing such a inspirational blogs, I really get inspired after reading this blog,
    I’d really like to start my own side business in software but i am not getting enough time due to my existing job,And to quit my existing job i am not enough financially stable So please suggest me what should i do in such situation.

  11. Hi there! First, I love your content! Have visited your site on occasion and love your spirit. Can’t wait to read your book and congrats by the way! What an accomplishment:))
    I don’t know much about Steve Jobs (sad, I know), so I will be happy to read about his principles and such!

  12. Revd Femi Adebisi
    Revd Femi Adebisi

    I love your delivery God bless u the more. I have published a book on nation building and personal development in 2012. It’s titled The Glittering Hope:Towards Creating a Better Culture in Our Nation. Our aim to make the book a household name increases by the day through various comments coming from readers, I mean, great minds. I like to get big time publisher who can make this dream a reality. as at now we’ve made d book available to d national Assembly, d presidency, some governors and some public offices in Nigeria. I am also working on new other books.
    I shall be glad to receive from you soon.

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