Wednesday, January 29, 2020

What Good Are You Capable Of?

Have you ever wondered what you are capable of?  I mean really capable of?  Have you ever said or done anything that, quite frankly, surprised you?  That went beyond what you thought yourself capable of?  Whenever you start to think about your life and what you want out of it, or what you want it to mean, the question of capability will always arise. What is my track record this far?  What is my real potential? What could I achieve if I had ________ (fill in the blank)?

According to noted Businessman and Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christensen in his book How Will You Measure Your Life? the 3 components of a person's capability--or ability to act--include:

  1. Priorities--The "why" of what we think and do
  2. Resources--The "what" we have to work with
  3. Processes--The "how" of creating

Each component relies on the other for context and direction.  It's a highly complex, personal, and symbiotic relationship and every day our decisions reveal the truth about how we see these components in our lives.

Our Priorities

Priorities, either consciously or subconsciously, are set by what we actually believe and what we value, not necessarily what we post on social media, not what we sometimes hear ourselves say to others, and not even what others tell us we should care about or think.  Some of the ideas we value are transmitted to us through our culture, our religion, ethnicity, or are hereditary. Some come through our own experiences while some are faith-based and have yet to be proved by experience or gained by knowledge.  Some we wear on our sleeves, others are more subtle and may remain a mystery even to ourselves.  Some may be spot on while others may be distorted or incomplete.  The bottom line, however, it that our "Why", our reason for doing, or thinking, or living, is based on our personal systems of belief--our values.

How do I learn what I actually value?
Wherever our values come from, and however we have either adopted them subconsciously or chosen them deliberately, they influence every single decision we make.  Try this: look back at the decisions you've made in the past 24 to 48 hours and then answer in your head or on paper as many of the following questions as you can:

  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Private/Inner Life:
    • How did you talk to yourself? 
    • When was it positive? When was it negative?
    • Did you pray? Why or why not?
    • What entertainment, if any, did you chose and why?
  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Public/Interactive Life:
    • Who did you spend the most time with and why? Who did you avoid? 
    • If you spent time around others, what was the quality of interaction?
    • Who did you influence and how?
    • Who did you allow to influence you and how?
  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Health & Wellness:
    • What did you eat and how much? Why?
    • How much did you sleep? Why?
  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Personal Environment:
    • Where did you physically spend the most time?
    • Was it uplifting or draining? Cluttered or tidy? Clean or dirty?
  • Where did you go? Why? 
  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Education:
    • What did you read? Why? 
    • What did you observe around you?
  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Work and Career:
    • How much time did you spend working?
    • What did you work on?  were you pleased, indifferent, or dissatisfied with your work?
  • In the Beautiful Living System Focus Area Wealth Management:
    • What money did you spend?  What did you spend it on exactly and why? 
    • If you didn't spend money, why didn't you?
  • Overall:
    • What activities took up most of your time? Why?
    • What are you glad you did? Why? 
    • What would you change if you had a redo? Why? 

The answers to these questions can feel so invasive! They force us to really dig down and self-examine.  Sometimes the answers found in our daily routines are deeply satisfying, other times they may be embarrassing or maybe even a little bit regrettable.  Can you see the evidence of what you value or what you believe in the choices you've made or the thoughts you've had? In the food you ate (or didn't), the money you spent (or didn't), the entertainment you chose, your self-talk, what you put into your mind or allowed to change your mind through reading?  If someone outside of yourself took note of all the evidence of your behavior, what could they surmise about your beliefs; your values?

In a book written by noted spiritual leader and businessman, John Maxwell, entitled Today Matters, he says: "The secret to your success is found in your daily routine."

Our daily routines show real evidence of what we believe.  Therefore, what we prioritize daily, we value, not in theory, but in truth.

What do I do if my daily routine does not reflect the values I want to have or the life I want to live?  Check your resources and arm yourself with new habits.

Our Resources

If you feel like your daily routine is out of sync with your values you can start to live closer to what you truly value by making small changes and starting new habits.  This is much easier said than done!  In some cases, you will need to evaluate your own thinking. Are there areas of self-sabotage you should address? What can you influence in your environment?  What do you need to let go of emotionally, mentally, physically?  In other cases, you will need physical tools to aid in your new life. Check your resources.  Every person alive has a unique set of 9 resources they can work with to varying degrees.

There are two aspects of each of your 9 resources: What you actually have and how you think about hat you have.  Do you spend your time thinking about how little money you have?  Or do you spend more time learning to maximize the money you already have?  Do you spend your energy using the knowledge and understanding you have to create, to problem solve, and to serve?  Or do you spend more energy worrying about things you can't change?  Truth be told, we all live, to some degree, beneath the possibilities of our own resources. Clayton M. Christensen rightly says, "If the decisions you make about where you invest your blood, sweat, and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you'll never become that person."  You don't want that!  I don't want that!

What you do with what you have can either increase or diminish your resources.  But, if you are more aware, you can catch yourself and make better choices more often. You can consciously choose to start new habits of both thought and behavior.  Evaluate your own set of resources.  Make a column for each resource.  Under each column head, list the specific resources you have access to.  You may be surprised at how much you actually have!

I can help you evaluate your resources.  I have created an inexpensive self-guided workshop called "How to Discover and Maximize your Personal Resources: The 9 Resources of Beautiful Living."  Just email me for more information at!

Our Processes

How do I build a better way of thinking and living? How can I live by my higher values?  How can I learn to use my resources more effectively?  Ahhh!

Start small. A wise prophet named Alma once taught his son, "...behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes...". Change can feel hard; it can be hard!  After all, we've established our lives based on what we thought would be right or would make us happy.  The cool thing, though, is that ultimately we are creators; we are our own agents of change. The processes or systems we live by, the resources we use to live better, the ability to create new systems of happiness, fulfillment, and success, can all be learned and created. You can live more aligned with what you want to value by evaluating your priorities, learning about your unique resources, and learning new habits through new processes or systems, Beautiful Living Systems!  There are 5 major systems you can explore which Beautiful Living Systems teaches and trains:

Creating a Beautiful Living System can help you establish direction and meaning through a Personal Mission Statement.  It can help unlock creativity through learning and using resources. It can help establish boundaries and unlock the ability to act by understanding the Push & Pull Factors in your life.  It can show you your growth potential in the 7 Focus Areas.  It can give you a sense of balance, progress, and growth by having a plan to implement your processes.   There is so much we can learn and do.  There is so much to celebrate!  There is a way to...

Live Beautifully!

Heather Butler
Founder and CEO of Beautiful Living Systems

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