Building Capacity

My friend Steve runs an excellent board meeting. One of the things he always sets aside time for in the meeting is “capacity building” – activities that on the surface don’t seem to have much to do with the business of a state board.
They are crucial, though – they build the personal relationships that make the board run more effectively and efficiently.
There are individual activities we do that build our own capacity, too. Broadly, this might include:
  • Physical fitness (running, yoga, the gym)
  • Mental fitness (meditation, good books)
  • Emotional fitness (connecting with your kids and your spouse, hearing a concert, seeing a play)
  • Creative fitness (writing, composing, painting, scrapbooking, cooking)
These are the kinds of things that we drop off of our lists when we get busy. We shouldn’t.
We think that we are too busy to justify this time; in truth, spending time on capacity building will make the rest of our lives go more smoothly.
In The Art of Stillness Pico Iyer points out that 30 minutes of daily meditation only amounts to about 3% of our waking hours. Even spending one hour a day building personal capacity amounts to only 6% of our awake time, and will be transformative.
Mahatma Gandhi knew the importance of building personal capacity – a famous story has him saying to his assistants one morning, “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”