The most important marker of growth is not cash in the bank, accolades, the size of an audience or other external markers —it is the expansion of our innate capacity in every realm of life.
Let me explain:
We all have a ‘baseline’ capacity —a set point where we can predict our level of performance in any part of life.
- Our physical capacity dictates our performance in the gym, during a 10K, or climbing a mountain.
- Our emotional capacity dictates our performance in the face of adversity and challenge.
- Our financial capacity dictates our performance as entrepreneurs sales, systems and marketing.
In other words:
The difference between you and someone you admire is much less about talent —and much more about capacity.
(Seth Godin argues nobody knows what talent is and all that matters is refining skills towards capacity.)
Since humans are the ultimate adaptation machine:
We must train our capacity.
We must grow our capacity.
We must expand our capacity.
And if we don’t, if we rest on our laurels —life starts to feel routine and mundane and like something is missing.
The great news is —if you do it right —you’ll realize that our ability to grow our capacity is nearly limitless.
So, how do you grow your capacity?
Leave your capacity’s comfort zone.
Find the sweet spot between pushing the needle, but not being overwhelmed —Steven Kotler of the Flow Research Collective says we should aim for about 4%.
By doing so, we are stimulated enough to trigger the adaptation process, while maximizing our performance in flow-like states.
Plan a quarterly crucible-style experience.
Every quarter, test your capacity with a crucible-style experience that forces you to show up —and put yourself on the line.
Show up to a Spartan race. Complete a big launch or creative work. Attend a spiritual retreat. Go to the writer’s workshop.
Event-based goal setting is one of the best ways to grow your capacity —and accelerate adaptation like never before.
Recover harder than you “expand.”
If adaptation is the endgame, then recovery is where the magic happens and it must be taken seriously.
While most people think recovery is doing nothing —active recovery is staying in movement with rituals, habits and practices that get you back to baseline.
Use this type of recovery and total rest to grow your capacity.
Dose environments wisely.
The fastest way to change behavior is strategically placing yourself in environments that force you to level up.
Most people won’t do this because it can be uncomfortable —and you’ll wonder if you can hang.
That’s precisely what you want: hang out with more skilled creatives, surround yourself with high-level business owners —meet up with those who have been on the spiritual path for decades.
Live and practice in seasons.
As hard we try to be, we are not machines —we are biological beings who run on nature’s cycles.
Which means there are “fire” seasons of intense tests, challenge and growth —as well as “winter” seasons of hibernation, incubation and recovery.
Understand which season you’re in and dose capacity appropriately to determine how hard to push.
At the end of the day:
The difference between an entrepreneur who makes $72,000 a year and someone who makes $800,000 is capacity.
(Capacity in sales, marketing, offers, problem-solving, leadership, hiring, etc.)
The difference between someone who walks around the block and a five-time Ironman is capacity.
(Capacity in physicality, training, endurance, recovery, running, biking, etc.)
The difference between someone who is blindly walking through life and someone who is grounded and present is capacity.
(Capacity in their spiritual realm, their connectedness to themselves and the world around them.)
If you’re not where you want to be in any area of life —that’s okay.
(The first step is always practicing radical honesty with ourselves.)
Capacity is precisely what stands between the gap of who you are today and who you want to become.
And by focusing on expanding your capacity, raising your baseline and adapting to a “new” normal:
You focus on what matters and grow like never before.
What capacity are you working on right now?