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The High-Potential Leader by Geri Willigan, Ram Charan

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6Build Your Mental Capacity

We all know that mental capacity can grow in a nanosecond if there’s a will, discipline, and practice. This phenomenon is reflected in comments like “Wow, that really opened my eyes!” or “Suddenly it dawned on me. . . .” It might be a question or comment someone makes that causes you to see things differently or have a breakthrough thought. You don’t have to—and shouldn’t—leave this kind of thing to chance. With practice, you can build your mental capacity, just as athletes build their physical capacity. Practicing the following skills will set the stage for leaps in your thinking, judgment, and imagination.

Widen Your Lens

The more broadly you see the world, the bigger your vision is likely to be. A wide lens helps you define the opportunity and fires up the imagination. Aaron Levie was twenty years old when he and some friends from high school decided to build Box, a company that would help users share files and collaborate via the cloud. They solicited seed money from famed investor Mark Cuban by cold- calling him by e-mail, and, to their surprise, Cuban funded them. They left college to keep working on their product, moving first to Berkeley then to Palo Alto, where they obtained some more venture capital and scaled up from seven people to around twenty-five. By 2016, Box had some $400 million in sales, but to Levie, that was truly just the start. He could see the pieces coming together to create a $40 billion market for the kind of service ...

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