Over the next few months we will be discussing the 15 laws of growth from John Maxwells book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. We will discuss one law per week and sum it up at the end with a complete call to action.
The greatest of all miracles is that we need not be tomorrow what we are today, but we can improve if we make use of the potentials implanted in us by God. – Samual M Silver
Despite all the research, studies and experiments ever done on the subject, we still have no clue what the actual potential of human beings is. According to some experts, most of use only ten percent of our true potential. Imagine doing ten times more than you are doing now or earning ten times the amount of money you are currently earning!
According to Maxwell, the best way to close the gap between where you currently are and what you are capable of is by changing our thoughts and actions. This is the law of expansion.
Increasing Our Capacity Through Our Thinking
Maxwell says that our thoughts can either limit us or empower us. The key is creating thoughts that increase our capacity. He offers three tips for changing our thinking to increase our capacity:
1. Stop Thinking More Work and Start Thinking What Works
Our society is conditioned to believe that more work results in better work. And while a good work ethic is always a plus, Maxwell says that just simply working more won’t offer much improvement. Instead, he says we need to focus more on what works. To do that, he says to ask yourself these questions:
- What am I required to do?
- What gives the greatest return?
- What gives the greatest reward?
Spend more time thinking about what works than how you can work more.
2. Stop Thinking Can I? and Start Thinking How Can I?
The question of “can I” starts with doubt. You aren’t sure if you are capable of it. Instead, Maxwell says we should ask ourselves the empowering question of “how can I”. This implies that we are capable of it, we just have to figure out how.
3. Stop Thinking One Door and Start Thinking Many Doors
When it comes to growth, you don’t want to stake your future on one door, it may not open! – John Maxwell
Many of us fall into the trap of locking into one path, one way of doing something, and it dooms us. If that one way fails, we think we are defeated. Instead, Maxwell says to think of several ways to achieve your goals.
Study the paths of successful people. While there are many principals that all of them share, for the most part they all had very different journeys to their success. There’s more than one door to achievement, keep as many of them as you can open.
Increasing Our Capacity Through Our Actions
Changing our thinking is the first step to changing our capacity. If we think limiting thoughts, not much else will matter. But if we change our thinking and stop there, not much will change. We have to change our actions as well.
Maxwell offers three more tips for changing our actions to match our thinking:
1. Stop Doing Only Those Things You Have Done Before and Start Doing Those Things You Could and Should Do
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. – Tony Robbins
Maxwell says that the first step towards success is becoming good at what you already know how to do. But as you continue to improve at that, you will discover new things you could and should be doing.
Doing new things we should be doing isn’t easy. It requires leaving our comfort zone, which is incredibly hard. We can’t get different results without taking different actions.
2. Stop Doing What is Expected and Start Doing More Than is Expected
Maxwell says that because we live in a society that rewards people just for showing up, we have fallen into a trap of just trying to meet expectations. In order to stand out and achieve more, we need to strive to surpass expectations.
If you are a business owner, this means giving more in value than your clients expect. If you are an employee, it means doing more than your boss expects. Either way, we all have the opportunity to improve by giving more than is expected of us.
3. Stop Doing Important Things Occasionally and Start Doing Important Things Daily
According to Maxwell, most people spend the majority of their time doing unimportant tasks. Things that take up time, but don’t really improve us. Instead, he says that we should focus way more time on “important” tasks. Things that better us in some way and don’t just take up time.
Not enjoyment and not sorrow is our destined end always; But to live that each tomorrow finds us further than today. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Instead of spending our time, we should invest it in thoughts and actions that further our growth.
If it is true that most of us our using ten percent of our potential, the opportunity for growth is nearly endless. In order to continue filling the gap between where we are and where we could be, we have to relentlessly expand our thoughts and actions. This is what the law of expansion is all about.