Other people’s capacity (OPC), like “other people’s money (OPM),” is a topic that we frequently notice and care about. We want others to do things that we want them to do; we work to enroll them in our visions of the future; and try to sell them and convince them that things can be different.
All of these kinds of approaches involve “how much” of something the other person has: time, resources, interest, curiosity, health – and, of course, the other person is the only person who really knows his or her capacity for giving of these.
What is your style for engaging a dialogue about OPC? Are you aggressive or, alternatively, are you someone who rarely mentions OPC? Think about how you would like others to engage your capacity and their requests about engaging it, and then revisit your own guidelines about how to best engage others.
What have been your best strategies for dealing with overwhelm when your capacity has felt overburdened? Tougher times like these can test anyone’s resolve and ability to pull through.
One of the ways to deal with taking on too much is to remove what is not mission critical. Make a list of any activity that is not directly contributing to your health and well-being in any area of your personal and professional life. Then prioritize by grouping A, B and C all of the activities – and systematically eliminate as many of the C’s as you can.
Feelings of overwhelm can feed on each other, so it’s useful to avoid “piling on” and making a case for feeling even more stressed and overwhelmed than you felt with the first feeling.
What strategies have worked for you? Have you ever had the experience of expanding your capacity, only to find yourself overwhelmed again? What underlies that dynamic?
What are your role models for capacity? Who taught you how much you can love, how much you can hurt, how much you can heal?
What is your capacity for joy? What experiences shaped your beliefs about how much is enough and how much is too much?
What is your capacity for forgiveness, for forgetting and healing? How did those perceptions come to be in place?
When you think about it, all the ways that humans learn how to act in the world can come together to have our capacities match or not match. You’re most likely spending time, personally and professionally, with people whose capacities approximate your own.
Have you ever considered the idea that sometimes human psychology and our upbringing has us sabotage our own lives because we buy into limitations about our capacity to have a life that works brilliantly on all levels? What are the best ways to heal and expand our capacities?
Capacity means how much something – someone – can hold or tolerate. Toleration of pain may not be such a good thing as the numbness may block out reason as well. Intolerance of great things may indicate a being whose ability to receive blessings has been impaired.
As with most things, the middle way is most likely to be sustainable. “Capacity” may be another way of saying “limits.” We can only take so much; right?
What is the difference between capacity and limits? Does reaching our capacity reveal limitations – or does it provide a realistic measure of our abilities? What are your limits as contrasted with your capacities?
What is your ability to take on the world? How much can you take? How much is worth taking? How much is worth holding? Are you asking these questions of yourself? What is your capacity?
Capacity is rarely addressed because we enjoy and hide behind the delusion that we can handle it all. Entrepreneurs, especially, tend to take on as much as they fantasize they can handle. Part of the trick is to reach far enough, but not too far. Lifetimes are spent learning the best in-between points.
What is your capacity for: Joy, Freedom, Pain, Accomplishment, Love, Suffering, Companionship, Family, Intimacy, Vulnerability, Loss? What are your limits to fully experiencing the human condition?
Capacity is the ability to receive, to stand up to and tolerate – often, even to bless – the welcome of the shouldered load.