Do You Negotiate Against Yourself?
If you’re like me, you roll your eyes when someone says something like: “If the mind can conceive it, the body can achieve it!”, or “You can do anything you set your mind to!”. Internally, I can’t help but note that I’ll never run an 8 second 100m sprint or deadlift 3000 pounds. Regardless of my positive attitude or certainty that I can, my body simply isn’t going to achieve those feats. With a background in Biology and Software I favor realism. Plus, I’m a bit of a smart-ass. So it’s fun to poke holes in people’s theories.
That having been said, those platitudes are rooted in a valuable concept. That is, we really don’t know our individual potential limits. Sure, I’ll never deadlift 3000 pounds as the world record is currently just over 1000 pounds. But could I train for, and pull 700 pounds? 600? Those numbers seem really far away for me. But it’s not absolutely, positively, and in all other ways inconceivable that I could some day build to those numbers. But it sure is easy to simply say “no way”. It’s easy to tell myself that I can’t do that. To set any limits on what we may one day achieve is just like negotiating against ourselves when we go to buy something. By setting limits, we are placing a ceiling on our potential. We’re drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and telling ourselves “you shall not pass!”. While I believe there absolutely ARE limits to what we can achieve, it seems silly to try to guess those limits when none of us are anywhere near the actual threshold of our potential.
Let me wrap this up by saying that I am absolutely not advocating for every member of our gym to try to make it to the olympics or the CrossFit Games. And the point of this article isn’t solely about physical limitations. In fact, that’s a small slice of your life. This concept applies to anything you may want to improve at. Rather than limiting yourself, pick an attainable goal and work toward it. Maybe you’ll never achieve it. But maybe you will. And when you arrive, perhaps you’ll want more. No problem, just set a new goal! Let your accomplishments happen, and stop letting your mind hit the brakes.