Maybe you have heard the story about Roger Bannister, the first human to conquer the four-minute mile in 1954. Before Bannister, it was thought that no one could break the four-minute barrier.
Bannister held his record for a mere 46 days, when his rival John Landy smashed the record. Over the next few years the four-minute mile became the standard for middle-distance runners.
So, what changed the limitation?
We’ve all felt them. We reach for a goal, only to stop short. We call that stoppage or limit. All too often we don’t stop to analyze the origin of the limit or whether it’s a limit at all. The problem is if you don’t understand how the limit was created in the first place, how in the world can you expect to defeat it?
There are three originators of limits. Two of them come from us, and one doesn’t. Let’s explore these further.
1. Limits we encounter from the world around us. From the time we’re old enough to be aware that others around us not only exist but also form opinions of us by our actions, we start creating limitations. These limitations have a lot to do with worry about being embarrassed, failing publically or being put into a position where we might be hurt or ridiculed. In short, we allow everyone in the world the honor of telling us our capabilities.
The only way past this particular kind of limitation is by standing up for yourself. Decide just what you’re going to be affected by, and who has a right to tell you anything. Anyone else can jump in a lake.
2. Limits from our bodies. Unless you’re a super athlete, you’re not operating at peak efficiency. In fact, according to various studies, the average person can use about 65% of their muscles (less if you’re a couch potato) as opposed to the 80% used by someone who’s trained professionally. What this means for you is that sometimes you’re going to physically hit a wall and think that’s where you stop.
The truth is, you’re capable of more than you think. And it’s OK to force your body past that limit sometimes. Not sure how far is right for you? Enlist the help of your doctor or a personal trainer.
3. Limits that come from a brain that’s on overload. When you get too busy or start multitasking, here’s where the problems start. A brain on overload makes mistakes. You start getting too emotional, and you make poor decisions. All this happens when your mind has reached the limit of what it can handle.
The solution? Focus on one thing at a time. If that still doesn’t work, you might need a break for a bit.
The next time you feel like you’ve hit a wall, take time to ask yourself some honest questions about where that limitation came from in the first place. By understanding where it came from, you know exactly how to work past it so that nothing will stand in the way of your success.