Achieving personal growth is an endless journey. As long as you are still breathing, you can aim and work for more potentials and capacities. One of the most powerful questions that may help us to keep the momentum of improving ourselves is:“What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?” The problem is not that we are not capable; it is more of setting limits that prevent us from growing.
This is the core principle of the law number 14 in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth book by John C. Maxwell. This law is a motivation to search for more aspects to increase our capacity under what Maxwell called The Law of Expansion.
The previous laws in the book were:
- The Law of Intentionality;
- The Law of Awareness;
- The Law of Mirror;
- The Law of Reflection;
- The Law of Consistency;
- The Law of Environment;
- The law of Design;
- The law of Pain;
- The law of Ladder;
- The law of Rubber Band;
- The law of trade-offs;
- The law of curiosity;
- The law of modeling.
This post summarizes the law of expansion.
How to Increase Your Thinking Capacity
The first step to increase our capacity is increasing our thinking capacity. Maxwell explained how changing our action is not related to learning more information; therefore, he suggested three actions as per the following:
- Stop thinking “more work” and start thinking “what works”?
More of the same work will not get us more results. As we all heard of the phrase “work smarter not harder”, we need to find what really gives us the greatest return and start doing it. Maxwell suggested a great structured- way to find out what really works! Whenever we find ourselves stuck with what we must do, what we ought to do and what we really want to do then we need to stop, ask certain questions and focus our attention on what really works. We may ask: What am I required to do? What gives the greatest return? What gives me the greatest reward?
- Stop thinking “can I”? and start thinking “how can I”?
A “Can I?” question gives you the sense of hesitation and doubt. A “How can I?” question gives you the sense of fighting to achieve something. So in order to grow, stop imposing more limitations on yourself.
- Stop thinking one door and start thinking many doors
When it comes to personal growth, always look for more than one door; search for different options and aim for multiple answers to your questions so you can expand your mind.
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.
How to Increase Your Capacity for Action
After changing our thinking as per the previous actions, we can increase our capacity. Maxwell suggested another three actions to expand our potential as per the following.
- Stop doing only those things you have done before and start doing those things you could and should do
Leave your comfort zone and look for ways to stretch yourself and expand your potential by doing the things that you could and should do. “A master didn’t become a master overnight, he explained. There was a process. First, one must become an apprentice, then a journeyman, and finally a master”.
- Stop doing what is expected and start doing more than is expected
Achieving personal growth is linked to your excellence and excellence is about delivering more than what is expected.
- Stop doing important things occasionally and start doing important things daily
To get a consistent personal growth you need to do the things that really matter every day and develop the habit of doing that.
Applying the Law of Expansion to our Lives
- Develop a mental transition from “Can I” to “How can I”. Ask yourself: 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 be doing with my life? The answers to these questions will give you a clue about what stops you now from achieving your potential.
- Assess your effectiveness by looking if you really do “what works” rather than “more work”. Find the amount of time you spend on each activity in your life and assess if these activities are really what matter.
- Create daily habits to start doing the important things that you need to achieve your personal growth. Whether it’s your family, health, career..etc, determine these areas and follow up on them every day.