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JEFFREY TOBIN: Watts in a name?

on May 26, 2013 2:50 AM

What do the names Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Est←e Lauder and Mark Zuckerberg have in common?

Success? Yes. Millions or billions of dollars in worth? Yes. But that’s not what I’m thinking about. I’m actually thinking of something you have in common with them.


That’s what you have in common with them. And I’m not talking about beer. I’m talking about your unexpected and unexplored ability to grow.

Jobs and Gates were a couple of geeky kids. Zuckerberg, the same (but with a really bad haircut). Est←e Lauder, a daughter of poor immigrants. Oprah Winfrey, a poverty-stricken, molested little girl whose first job was at a grocery store. These people could not possibly have projected the futures they were about to live. Had they the ability to look into a crystal ball and see their own future, they would likely have guessed it to be a lie.

Not one of them could have had an inkling of what was in store.

When we look at them today, we see only what they became: entrepreneurial firecrackers who made something out of nothing. But they certainly weren’t firecrackers when they got started. In fact, none of them even had a match.

My point in all of this is to highlight the fact that you really do have something in common with them: A common and unlimited capacity for growth.

Your personal capacity for growth has probably not been tested. The Power of Capacity starts with the premise that most of us don’t really have any idea of our own capacity. Yes, we know we can continue to grow.

Yes, we know that continuing growth is good. And yes, we are aware that without growth we become stagnant. But none of us has –—nor can we have — any reasonable understanding as to the potential extent of our growth.

Do you think you have that kind of capacity?

Don’t shortchange yourself.

It’s happened to these real people, as real as you or I. It’s happened to thousands and thousands of others throughout history who have had the world thrust upon them. Did they think they’d have that kind of capacity? Probably not. But did they have it? Yessiree!

So I say again, don’t shortchange yourself.

All of this interesting, but of what value is it if you feel like you don’t have that special gift, a unique product, or a one-of-a-kind talent?

You may well feel like a 40-watt bulb, hoping against hope that you might one day put out 100 watts. Oh, come on; take the lid off! We all come from the same factory. So watt’s in a name? Nothing special. And that’s the point. Your bulb has the same capacity as Zuckerberg’s, or Oprah’s. The only challenge now is in how you might apply it.

So … how might you?

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