How Limitations Help Us

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir

There’s a pattern of thought I’ve caught myself doing that usually looks something like—

“I can’t do (…) because (…).”

No matter how genuine and realistic the reason after ”because” is, it’s still a limiting thought that accomplishes nothing.

Another way of putting it is “I can’t do something I want to do because something else is getting in the way.”

Sometimes this is a good thing that saves our bacon from harm. “I can’t drive because I’ve had too many drinks.” “I can’t sleep around because I’m married.” “As a resident doctor, I can’t work more than 80 hours because it’s illegal.” “I can’t buy a new laptop because my credit isn’t great.”

Most limitations protect us (and others) from dumb/thoughtless decisions. For example, it sucks not to buy a new laptop—particularly if you need one to survive—but buying one without the means to pay for it will eventually cause more problems in the future.

Breaking limitations is necessary sometimes, but for the most part, limitations protect us from epically failing.

Here’s a built-in example: without proper water, food, or sleep, we can die—or at the very least wreak havoc on our bodies. You can go with quality sleep for a while. We are so resilient we can get used to feeling tired (tired becomes our new normal), but eventually, the bill comes due.

Think about it in your own life. We all know this, but we often ignore this. I know I have. I often work too much without giving myself enough relaxation and rest.

We think we are invincible—until we aren’t.

Some rules need to be broken. As artists and athletes and entrepreneurs and thinkers—boundaries are meant to be broken.

We should always be challenging ourselves and striving to push the boundaries of what we are capable of.

But some rules need to be respected. Nature. Relationship. Ourselves. Our mind, body, and spirit need what it needs. As much as I would enjoy not having to sleep, the thought alone doesn’t give me the power to ignore what’s necessary—not forever anyway.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1024

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