Are You Really Capable of More Than You Know?

Self help teachers, personal growth authors and motivational speakers tell us

  • we can accomplish anything we set our minds to,
  • happiness and success are choices we can make, and
  • we aren’t always in charge of what happens to us, but we are in charge of how we respond to what happens to us.

But it’s often difficult to believe them, or that what they say is true for me. And it feels harder than they make it sound (One best-selling house-hold name guru is currently marketing a program called “Effortless Success”. Believe it?). But might you believe a two-time Nobel Prize winning Harvard biologist who has spent 79 years studying the behavior of ants?

I’ll circle back to him below. First I’ll say that I believe — no, I don’t just believe, belief implies doubt; I know, I’m totally clear — that we really are more capable than we know. To say it another way, I am convinced I am more powerful and able than I usually give myself credit for.

So give credit where credit is due

How? By acknowledging your unrecognized power. How? By starting (or restarting) your Responsibility Practice today.

One of the Responsibility Redefined™ lessons I constantly remind myself (and I tell every audience and every client too since we all need to hear it over and over) is what I said above:  we are all far more powerful and able than we give ourselves credit for. That’s right. Even though we’ve been choosing, creating, and attracting our life experience and results for years, we don’t usually own that we are the architect of our own experience (good and bad). So we are the only one that can change the results we are getting.

Response Ability starts when you assume there is something you can do, even if you don’t know what it is

Our built-in Responsibility Process™ is the regulator. When we are not getting what we want, even in small ways, we Lay Blame, Justify, Shame ourselves, or operate from Obligation, none of which satisfies us in terms of delivering what we want. We remain anxious and upset, often depressed. Not only are we upset and feeling trapped in a life we don’t want, we usually assume there is nothing we can do.

But that assumption is false.

However, we become increasingly more powerful and free when we realize that every upset large or small is an opportunity to learn and start practicing that when we experience an upset of any size. Do you have  upsets in your life? Any frustrations? Anywhere when you aren’t getting exactly what you want?

Of course you do.

What if you see each as a gift, the gift of a signal that there is something for you to learn in that arena of your life in order to bring you more freedom, choice, and power? True power is the ability to learn, grow, become more aware, and release yourself from self-imposed traps and limitations.

Repeat after me “I am bigger than any problem”

One of my sons and I were driving home from the beach Sunday where my family spent Thanksgiving week as we have the last ten years, in a rented beach house on South Padre Island, the beautiful barrier island at the southern tip of Texas along the Gulf coast, only 6 nautical miles from Mexico. Driving through the Rio Grand Valley (where the famous King Ranch goes on for miles and miles) I was listening to National Public Radio’s Andrea Seabrook interviewing Edward O. Wilson, the award-winning Harvard biologist and co-author of a new book The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies.

As a social scientist I was intrigued with his 79 year-long research into ants and ant societies. But I was rocked with his words quoted by Ms. Seabrook in her sign-off:

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.

Now coming from a winner of over 100 awards in science, biology, and human affairs, I’ll assign some credibility to his words when he says “you are capable of more than you know.”

Check it out

Here’s a link to the interview. You’ll need to register and log in to NPR to access it.

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2 Responses to Are You Really Capable of More Than You Know?

  1. Jared says:

    The power that one has is not just over their responses to everday situations, but is in fact much larger. Anyone can learn anything. Many adults are struggling to learn another language right now while their children breeze through it, why? You have to let go of everything you know. Not forget it, it is important to remember it, but it is also what is holding you back. Kids find it easier to learn things because they are not yet biased to new subjects. Here is an example: Answer the following problem 2+2=__ If you said 4, than you might be wrong. The answer could also be 0, 1, or 2. How? It is in the context. You have not been given enough information to answer this question, and if you rely on what you know (your grade school math) you might get the wrong answer. 0; if two wrongs don’t make a right, it would stand to reason that 4 wrongs don’t make a right either, so the answer is 0. 1; two hydrogen atoms + two oxygen atoms = 1 germ killing hydrogen peroxide molecule. 2; two men + two women = two heterosexual couples. The examples could go on forever but the bottom line is that sometimes we react before we have all the necessary information. So by bringing years of english grammar and prejudice toward Latinos to your Spanish classes, you are actually holding yourself back subconsiously. The way to get past it is to make a concious decision. In order to do this you have to be committed not just involved, in your studies, in your family, in your job, in your life. (The difference between involvment and committment is like a ham and egg breakfast, the chicken was involved, the pig was committed.) Anyone can learn anything.

  2. Thanks for your expanded view Jared. Yes, evaluation is the big ugly here. We quickly learn to judge everything as right/wrong, good/bad, perfect/imperfect and such, and that very judgement keeps us from learning since it gives us a short-cut to the meaning of something. In order to learn we have to get past our accumulated short-cuts, or as you say, let go.

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