Do We Over Limit Ourselves?

February 18, 2012 by Lynn Faughey

I came across a YouTube video the other day of a little girl playing Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 on the violin.  She was absolutely amazing.  As I watched this little seven year old play the violin like a master, I wondered how it was possible?  Of course God-given talent and a lot of hard work are obvious answers, but then I thought of something else.  Perhaps she’s able to excel above and beyond all expectations of a child her age because no one has ever told her that she couldn’t.

For every great idea I’m sure there was a skeptic saying “forget it, it’ll never work”.  Thankfully those insightful souls didn’t listen to the naysayers.  Can you imagine if Wilbur and Orville Wright decided their idea to fly was a waste of time. Or if Ben Franklin was told flying a kite in a storm is a really bad idea – which it is, by the way.  I’m sure the guy who decided that we should put a man on the moon got a few weird looks as well.  Who knows where we’d be today if Jonas Salk was told science really wasn’t his thing.

Bottom line, these people didn’t define themselves or their ideas by the boundaries others may have put on them.  As adults we set our own limits.   Whether it’s how much we spend, how many cups of coffee we drink or how much TV we watch, limiting ourselves is just part of life.  But are we over limiting ourselves?  Have you found yourself missing out on things because they’re out of your comfort zone?  I don’t mean skydiving out of an airplane kind of stuff, I mean real everyday stuff.  For example, maybe there’s a job opportunity you didn’t apply for because you’re sure someone else will get it.  Or a longtime wish of learning to play the piano, but you doubt your musical ability. Maybe you envy a friend who is successfully losing weight, or a neighbor you see out training for a marathon.  What do the job applicant, piano lesson newbie, weight dropper and marathon trainer all have in common?  No one is holding them back.  Whether they’re self-imposed limits or limits others have put on your abilities, not taking action is on you.  Maybe you don’t get the job, aren’t a piano prodigy, don’t shed pounds easily or can only run around the block.  So what!  The only failure is not trying at all.

As important as it is to know what our limits are, it’s just as important to know what they are not.  Personal growth and knowledge doesn’t come from setting limits, it comes from stretching the limits we’re comfortable with.  If someone is going to become the next concert pianist or CEO or marathoner, why not

you?  As the saying goes, the sky’s the limit!
If you’re wondering what inspired this article, one of the reasons is that I’m currently reading the new biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  If Steve Jobs limited himself, there would be no iPods, iPhones, or iPads today!


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