Capacity and Application

I tend to believe that a life well lived (by most standards) involves a consistent increase in one’s personal capacity.

In practice, this means we’re more capable of doing and feeling and comprehending: fixing things, parsing the unfamiliar, understanding our internal roilings and surges, and gainfully soaking up aesthetic experiences

That growth in capacity, though, will generally need to be matched by a concomitant increase in application, lest we find ourselves with a volume of potential that goes underutilized or completely unrecognized.

So as we grow, we’re also responsible for figuring out ways to exercise our newly developed or recently discovered metaphorical (or literal) muscles; otherwise we begin to feel unchallenged and unchanging, and a lack of productive utility for these fresh facets of ourselves can leave us prone to a sense of neglect and uncomfortable fixedness.

This isn’t always a welcome realization, as our ongoing need for new challenges is a responsibility that can also weigh on us in various ways, sparking anxiety and exhaustion.

But a balanced, sustainable sequence of ever-enriching capacities, paired with an aligned use of those capacities, tends to result in satisfaction and fulfillment rather than depletion.

A mismatch between what we’re capable of and what we’ve tasked ourselves with tends to lead to the worst outcomes: that gulf between what we can do and what we’re doing can make us feel weird and uncomfortable.

Sometimes we overcompensate, piling more onto our plates than we can humanly handle, but just as often the opposite is true and the only way to rouse oneself is to better calibrate capability with application, taking on more of the right kind of responsibility and benefitting from the consequent sense of accomplishment and self-control.

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