Remove the cap

One of the biggest obstacles to taking on what seems to be impossible is : others are often quick to tell you what can’t be accomplished.

Waiting to be driven ?

Tina Seeling is a teacher at Stanford. On her first class, she usually uses PowerPoint slides to describe how she will cover the quarter and to list her commitments and expectations. 
Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous”, says the final slide she comments, advising her students that she will deliver her very best in each class and expect the same from them in return.

Then, what happened ? “The students consistently deliver more than I or they ever imagined” she says. “It seems they embrace the idea of being fabulous with enthusiasm, they even raise the bar repeatedly as the quarter progresses”.

It’s as though students are just waiting to get this instruction. They’ve hungry for permission to do their very best, to hit the ball out of the park and to shine their brightest.

Moreover and more than ever, “less is more”, unless…

We are encouraged to satisfice : do the least amount we can to satisfy the requirements.

For example, teachers give assignments and clearly state what’s required to get specific grades. The classic question posed to a teacher is : “Will this be on the exam?” (By the way, teachers hate this question). However, students have learned through years of reinforcement that all they need to do is meet the minimum requirement to get the grade they want. This happens at work as well, when bosses outline specific objectives for their staff and create rubrics and metrics for giving bonuses and promotions.

It’s easy to meet expectations, knowing exactly what you will get in return. But amazing things happen when you remove the cap. In fact, there’s a huge pent-up drive in each of us to blow off the cap. Like a soda bottle that’s been shaken, individuals who remove perceived limits achieve remarkable results.

Force people to do this in a surprising way

Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Keep in mind that interesting things often occur when you are open to take an unexpected turn, to try something different, and when you are willing to question the rules others have made for you.

The more you experiment, the more you realize the spectrum of options is much broader than imagined.

Sources : “Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous”, Psychology Today,