“As many as possible” is a relative term in business.

Many aspire to reach the maximum number of people in their business endeavors. This could be an artist reaching fans, a fund manager reaching clientele, a doctor reaching patients, an entrepreneur reaching customers, etc. I’ve observed this aspiration in music/entertainment, medicine, retail, consumer products, fashion, fitness, technology, education, L&D, human resources, etc. “As many as possible” is typically perceived as the global maximum that the market will bear. What is not often recognized is that the keyword in that phrase, “possible,” is a relative term anchored on one’s individual capabilities and mindset.

The misconception comes when people hear “as many as possible” and take the statement at face value without understanding the category or context of the speaker. In fairness, the speakers often do not recognize their context and what is possible for them either.

When one hears “possible,” one hears pressing the boundaries of the impossible and breaking barriers. At least, that’s what I hear because that’s what I mean when I say “possible.” It’s up to the recipient of that information to understand that what the person is saying is not the global maximum but an individual maximum.

One of the biggest missteps and honest errors in judgment that I’ve made and learned from my friends and peers is that their “possible” is very different from my “possible.” It’s not better or worse. Simply very different. My only regret in life is that I didn’t have the management system I’ve built now to understand that when any of my friends would say to me they want to do as much as possible, the degree of possibility is on a sliding scale. It wasn’t as black and white as how I viewed it.

I was born into and performed in the top 1% at the highest levels of entertainment. Because of my background, I’m constantly breaking barriers with my individual scale and scope of what’s possible. With the best of intentions, I have unfairly projected my scale and scope onto others’ definitions of “possible.” As a result, I’ve made my life much harder than I needed to. Such missteps have been based on my genuine need and want to contribute to others’ lives so that they can break barriers. I don’t see myself as better or worse than others, but I had to understand that background and context make me factually very different. Not just in terms of my innate ability, my life experiences and context are unique regarding my chronological age versus what I’ve been exposed to. Coming to terms with this has allowed me to hear and view things very differently when it comes to other individuals’ aspirations.

Over the years, I’ve learned that most people are not to the point of trying to optimize or be the best they can be. They’re simply trying to survive. While there may be a cognitive dissonance with me as I believe there’s much more to life than surviving, that does not make anyone else with opposing or divergent viewpoints wrong in any way. So instead of reacting in an attempt to show another person what they’re missing, I now spend that energy on self-evaluation to figure out what I’m missing. That’s how I plan to live the rest of my life as a result. With all that said, removing the survival mentality doesn’t automatically eliminate one’s limitations in terms of possibility, but it’s a necessary prerequisite.

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Steve Douglas

Steve is a Canadian polymath whose pro music career officially began at age 4 when he performed live @ Wembley Stadium. His focus = tangibly benefiting youth.