I have been re-reading the 2017 book by John C. Maxwell called "No Limits." In the book, John talks about focusing your energy on your strengths, not your weaknesses. The older I get, the more I am convinced that when I take time to work on my weaknesses, I can minimize them to a degree, BUT when I work on my strengths, I can significantly move my impact and success forward. I try to consistently apply the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule, which is spending 80% of my time and effort working on my strengths and 20% minimizing my weaknesses.
In his book, John Maxwell has a simple formula to grow your capacity: AWARENESS + ABILITY + CHOICES = CAPACITY. In previous Minute with Mike (MwM) articles & podcast episodes, I talked about awareness and growing your ability. In this article, I want to talk about the third part of the formula: the choices I make.
Everyone makes choices every day that affect their life. Some of the choices we make move us forward and other options hold us back. In his book "No Limits" John Maxwell lists ten choices we make that will grow our capacity and, therefore, our success. Here are a few of them:
1. Responsibility – we choose to take responsibility for our own life. Taking responsibility is the foundational step in our success. When we play the victim card and blame others, we choose to abdicate responsibility and will therefore take no positive action. Michael Korda says, "... the one quality all successful people have is the ability to take responsibility." It is also important to remember that taking responsibility makes you ready for action. "Action springs not from thought but from readiness to take responsibility," Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
2. Character – we make choices based on good values. Remember that good character is consistent in all areas of life and speaks much louder than the words we speak. "Good character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow" Abraham Lincoln.
3. Abundance – we choose to believe that there is more than enough available in the world. John Maxwell asks a good question, "what does it look like to live on the other side of NO?" It is limiting because it keeps us from opportunities. It is easy because we do not have to do anything. It is comforting because it feels familiar. Lastly, it is crowded because most people live there. What about living on the other side of YES? Firstly, it is exciting because we will have to figure things out and use creativity. It is enlarging because we will grow in our experience. Lastly, it is rewarding because we often find more YESES on the other side of the first yes.
4. Discipline – we choose to focus on the now and follow through. It is so key in life to live a life of discipline because when we do, we find the freedom we are looking for. To live a disciplined life is to know what is most important and focus on it. I am reminded that I must act even when I do not want to act. If I waited for the right moment and the right emotions, I might never get much done.
Enjoy the journey of self-awareness, growth in your abilities, and making consistently good choices. Tony Robbins says, "most people overestimate what they can get done in a month and underestimate what they can get done in a year." I am excited for you to accomplish more & more and live out your dreams. Your best days are ahead!