Skill vs. Capacity

A skill is usually a measureable ability, whether it is physical or mental. The ability to code a website from scratch in less than an hour, or the ability to memorize the name of every person you’ve ever met are both examples of skills.

One’s capacity, on the other hand, is a bit more intangible. Capacity refers to the your potential to handle a situation or event. An example would be observing how you handle stress, or sudden changes. These are not easily measureable.

Most of us work on improving our skills, and often neglect our capacity for success. This is usually because there is something immediately measurable about improving skills.

For example, last month, it took you 12 hours to get a WordPress site up and running. This week it only took you 4 hours. That’s a measurable improvement in skills.

But how would you measure your tolerance for prospects that bleed you dry for free information, or your patience for customers who run late?

Some might interpret the latter as “people skills.” Okay, but how do you measure that? That’s why it’s not a skill. It’s your capacity to be diplomatic, or your capacity for patience.

Both skills and capacity are equally important to success. What good does it do to be able to build a 100 website in a month, if you upset every prospect you meet? At the same time, what good does it to do to be able to schmooze everyone when you can’t produce anything?

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