This is a guest post by Srinivas Rao, @skooloflife.
Everything that you know how to do today and you do effortlessly is something that you once didn’t know how to do. You weren’t born knowing how to walk, talk, or speak. You learned all of those things and the notion of limitations probably never existed when you were a kid. There was a point in my life where I thought I”d wake up one day and have super powers :), like Superman.
As we get older however, our imagination seems to stop running riot and we start getting “realistic” about what we are capable of. As a result, we create self-imposed limitations and our full potential gets lost. Let’s look at a couple examples of how we create limitations in our lives.
Bigger Waves: When I started surfing, I remember telling a friend “yeah, I’ll never need waves more than 2-4 ft and that’s probably going to be my limit.” That limit keeps getting bigger. The first time I ever rode a bigger wave I came to the realization that I had become too attached to my success. But in that moment I also overcame the limitation of 2-4 ft. It was simply a matter of going for it and taking a risk. Every risk you take provides an opportunity to propel past your self imposed limitation. Will you always make it? NO. But, if you do, then you’ve moved to your next level. I’m never going to be a big wave rider (maybe my own self imposed limitation or wish for prolonged life). But, check out the video of this guy below who has more or less exemplified the idea of overcoming self imposed limits.
Musical Instruments: The first time you look at a piece of music that is really difficult, you might have the holy SH#$# reaction. That’s pretty normal if you ask me. But after going through it, one measure at a time, practicing every single day, the piece of music that you couldn’t play is something you are now doing almost effortlessly. You created the limitation when you started and you overcame it just through practice.
Out of My League: Dating is another place where I think we create a ton of self imposed limitations. It’s not uncommon for somebody to find a person of the opposite sex extremely attractive and then say “But, yeah I could never get that chick or dude.” Then we make a list of excuses for why this is not possible. “I don’t have enough money, I’m not good looking enough, blah, blah” and a whole bunch of bullshi#$# that you have told yourself over and over. Notice how you have created all of this.
Blogging: Annabel Candy at Get in the Hot Spot recently wrote an amazing post on success. One of the things she talked about was the amount of readers that she wanted subscribed to her blog. She decided to up the goal from 10,000 to 15,000. In all honesty, whether she reaches either goal doesn’t matter. Let’s say she gets to the 8000 readers, then she’s still a success. But think about where she set the bar. She set the bar really high. I set out with a goal of 1000 readers by April. I don’t have it, but maybe it’ because this was my self imposed limitation. Maybe I should have aimed higher. Maybe my focus should be 10,000 readers and I should work towards that and 1000 should just be a milestone in the bigger picture. In fact maybe that’s all overcoming a limitation is, a milestone on the path to your goal.
Overcoming your Limitation
Set a Higher Bar: If you are the one creating the limitation then maybe it’s as simple as setting a higher bar. Maybe the bar should be whatever your personal 6-8 foot wave is. Maybe the bar should be 10,000 dollars instead of 5000 dollars. The thing with setting the bar higher is you will come closer to what the goal you set even if you don’t necessarily accomplish your exact goal.
Mind Your Language: It’s no secret in the world of self help and personal development that the way we use language plays an integral role in our ability to accomplish things. When you use words like “I could never” or “impossible” you are using your language to create a limitation. Just remember everything that is possible today was once seen as “impossible.”
Examples of Possibility: Examples of what’s possible are everywhere and usually one example of possibility will set the wheels in motion. The best example of this that is cited throughout history seems to be Roger Banister’s 4 minute mile. Right after he did it, tons of other people did too. My favorite example from the world of blogging is Henri Junttila who grew his blog to over 1000 readers in 100 days. That was a paradigm shift and a model for what’s possible. For all you know somebody might grow to 1000 readers in 60 days next and that will give us the new model for what’s possible. Finding examples of possibility will actually help to shift your perception of what you can actually accomplish.
What limitations have you self imposed? Which ones have you overcome? How did you overcome them?