Personal Development

Capability VS. Capacity: 5 Ways To Maximize Your Potential

By October 8, 2019 March 17th, 2020 No Comments

We are born with capability, but capacity is the defining treat of success.

If you want to understand the word “CAPACITY”, then look no further at Quenton Nelson of the Colts. The reason he’s so loved is because he utilizes every fiber of his being to get the job done on game day. Every block is passionate. He is constantly communicating with his teammates. He does anything he needs to in order to make sure his team wins games.

During my playing days in the NFL, I took pride in being the most prepared player on the field. It’s why I was captain of the defense for 5 seasons, the reason I was able to make the big plays that I did while playing, and quite frankly is the reason I was able to make a roster (in the pros or college). I took pride in studying the game, picking apart my opponents mentally and most importantly: being prepared to take action in situations where I was afforded very little time to think things through. Capacity is the trait that pushes talented individuals to accomplish extraordinary things.

As defined in the dictionary, capability is defined as “having ability, efficient; competent”. We all have innate ability, so in other words we are all capable. In my world, capability is defined as “the ability to follow directions and take specific orders.” We all have the ability to get tasks and jobs done with some guidance and capability is an important trait to have, especially when you are learning how to perform a task or building a skillset.

Capacity on the other hand is, defined as “the maximum ability to perform, yield or withstand”. We are all born with capabilities of some sort. Maximizing these abilities, however, is something only a small percentage of us actually realize. Capacity can only come from a level of mindfulness and focus that Coach Dungy defined capacity as “the ability to use contingency planning to solve problems”.

When I was in my playing days, I overvalued watching game film. I felt like if I watched enough footage and coupled that with consistent work at practice and in the weight room, I could prepare myself for any situation that might come my way. In my earnest opinion, it’s what allowed me to have the career I was able to. I was focused on being prepared not only to perform my duties, but for any potential situation I could walk into.

The relationship between capability and capacity, them, is very similar to that of potential and realization. Feature vs. Benefit. Theory and practice. Opportunity and success. Ultimately, we are all born with the capability to do things. The successful find a way to mix their capabilities with strong situational thinking that ultimately allows a person to maximize his/her potential in a presented situation.

In my work as CEO at Stacked Pickle capacity is the trait that continues to allow us to thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. We pride ourselves on delivering “Legendary Service” to every customer who walks through our doors, and constantly focus on our capacity. Customers know our capabilities as a sports bar. They understand that we serve burgers, wings and adult beverages. What they don’t know is how attentive and positive our serving team will be during their visit. Delivering a unique and positive customer experience is our goal every time. Every customer is different, which requires the capacity to deal with unique situations as we face them. Whether it’s adapting a new technology to our tech stack, adopting new product to our inventory or addressing a customer concern, our ability to adapt to our circumstances is what allows us to thrive as a business. Capability is the canvas of human potential. We all have the ability to learn & do. Capacity is the ability to push your performance to its limits.

Five Ways To Maximize Your Potential

Practice, Practice, Practice.

As a competitor, the first step in changing your capability into capacity starts with building your skills (capabilities) to the point of maximization. Consistent practice is the first step to building your skills and abilities to capacity. 

Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Fails To Work Hard.

Study the greats.

The next step in increasing your capacity and getting closer to mastery is studying the greats in your space. They say that in order to be the best at what you do, you must see what others have seen. By studying those who have come before you in your space, you will be able to mentally prepare for the pitfalls and circumstances they faced as well.

“Believe in Yourself. Study the Greats. And Become Greater*” – Michael Jackson.*


As I previously mentioned, in my playing days I was infatuated with watching film. I watched so much film that on gameday, sometimes it felt as if I had already seen certain situations and would know how to react. In my current work as a high performance coach, I digest so much content around the space that I find myself internalizing the information I learn extremely quickly. When I deliver speeches and content, things are able to flow naturally. This is a a result of my meditation practice and focus on craft.

Expect the unexpected

One of the biggest reasons that capacity is so hard to attain is because people usually do not want to accept the fact that things simply never go as planned. If we accept this fact and use it to our advantage by preparing ourselves for multiple situations. As I always say, we must “Expect adversity. Then expect to overcome it.”

Play With Passion

This is the most important part of the equation. At every level of football, in my current work, and in my personal life, my passion for the things I do is always apparent. Whether it’s the amount of hours I put in, how I execute my tasks, or how I speak about my work, the goal is to ensure that my passion is being communicated at all times. I want people to know that I love the work I do and that the work is important. I am far more effective when I am playing with passion and enthusiasm and that is the goal each and every time out.

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