2023 November 21 Exceed your limits!

Nov 21, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about exceeding your limits. So let's get started. If you like what you hear today, please leave a like, tell your friends, and send me a message.


Tonight's all about exceeding the limits in our lives, but first we have to take a moment to wish everyone in the US a wonderful Thanksgiving. In the US, it's this coming Thursday, and our friends in Canada celebrate it in October.


But, to the topic at hand, exceeding limits. It was Henry Ford who once said, Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.  Far more than just a witty phrase, it really captures the essence of setting and exceeding the limits we place upon ourselves.  How many women and girls do you know that said they can't do math because they're a girl? Many, right? How many famous women mathematicians are women? Many of them among the most famous ones in the world. So the first group was clearly mistaken, but for whatever reason, they placed this limiting belief into their belief system, and so it became true. This isn't gender specific. We all do it in many different ways to ourselves.


But the one that always struck me because there's so many awesome role models and yet still an incorrect negative belief persists. What about beliefs that society places in our lives? These are particularly insidious because society itself is confirming them to us all the time. It's really difficult to see past them.  These can be lifestyle. You have to dress nicely and have a new car or you just really aren't one of the cool people. Ever notice how there are not a lot of ads saying that cool people don't have car payments, but they do have money in the bank and can retire at 45 or 50 years old? 


That would be a far better role model. But that isn't the message that society is always sending us. Businesses fuel it, of course, because they want to get across that we're always relentlessly hounded to spend money on things. The limiting belief here is that to fit in, you need new things. But there are endless examples to the contrary that just seem to be ignored. If you take Warren Buffett, for example, he was formerly the richest person in the entire world. He still lives in the same house in Nebraska that he bought in 1958. One of the quandaries then, is why is it that we ignore the good role models, who are setting huge goals with almost no limits, and instead pigeonholing ourselves into such limiting beliefs? 


Oftentimes it stems from beliefs instilled in us as children or through folklore and common knowledge, especially with respect to money and our place in society.  Money's often held up as a grand example of evil incarnate. Actually, money itself is evil. Rich people don't care about poor people. Money always corrupts. Money is often said to be evil. Yet the reality is, more often than not, money just makes people to be more of what they were before they had money. If you look at lottery winners, that's very clear. People who are generous give it all away. People who weren't good with money - they get a hundred million dollars and it's gone in two years. You really have to work pretty hard to do that. There are lots of examples around.


It shouldn't be difficult to find people who are good role models and people who inspire us. But for some reason, they never seem to turn up in the popular media. Let's look at Warren Buffett again.  Most of his biggest investments were in companies with tangible products, things that are actually made. That meant they're creating jobs for people. This is unlike an investment broker, who gets more money for a limited group of people, while they put many other people out of business. Warren Buffett built bigger and better companies, so more people had work.


They could  proudly get a job and provide for their families. How great is that? Oh, and we shouldn't forget, that ultimately, he gave away $51.5 billion to charity. When you look at numbers like that, some of the other people who claim to be such magnanimous, generous people of the more recent, nouveau riche, especially in the technology world, makes them seem a little bit marginal. They're setting up trust funds that they control. It's different. Some people are genuinely generous whether they have a little money or a lot. It's not the money that makes the difference, it's the character that makes the difference. 


That is the important distinction we have to make when creating our own internal limits and our own goals.  Many of our limiting beliefs come from common knowledge, which is really a created narrative by society, and it's not reality whatsoever. What if, instead of being told to spend ourselves into debt, we instead were told to model people who created wealth for themselves and use that to raise others up to a higher level? How much better would that be?  


That's also a very real story with many good examples, but it doesn't have an emotional grit that popular folklore likes to focus on that makes a story more interesting - hearing somebody's a really good person, they made the town a lot better, and everybody liked them, that's really great. But hearing how bad they were and everybody hated them and they put people out of business and everything, that's a story you can sell to the paper. That's one of the fundamental issues - that news is based upon the sensationalist and not necessarily the reality.


It's interesting I use the word grit because there used to be a newspaper named Grit, which was nothing but good news. It used to be very popular, but in the modern oh-so-cool world, it really didn't last very long. Check it out on Wikipedia, Grit magazine, and it'll turn right up. It was around when I was a child, and it was pretty interesting. 


Little segue there, so the first lesson, and a cautionary one, is that the first step in exceeding our limits may very well be looking at where our perceived limits came from and just removing those limits from our belief system. If you think money is bad, it's really hard to go try and get a better job because you think, Oh, I don't want to be rich because rich people are bad. If you think money is just a tool, a tool that allows you to do more of what you want to, and if what you want to do is help other people, then earning more money is just a tool to help you help more people.


How you set your mindset really determines how you view things in your belief system. This isn't always easy to do, but the reality is that things like social media and distributed chat groups allow us to find like minded, positive thinkers. 


There are many supportive groups online, just like there are all the negative groups that we come across. They may not get the headlines and the promotion that the bad ones do for the same reason. Positive headlines don't get the same promotion the negative headlines do, but they are out there. If you do a little digging, you'll come across them. We've talked in the past about restarting our own community. We had one for a while back. For those of us interested in creating our best selves with like minded supporters, we're working on that again. I think there's a lot of merit to hanging around with other people with similar interests, I can tell you from my involvement with some of my mentors, that having a group to turn to who share some important aspects of your belief system is really a wonderful way to reinvigorate yourself. 


We know the daily grind gets just a little bit old and everything seems wrong. You go to these people, and you describe your problem, and they say, Well, what about yesterday? You did this! Or,  Hey, how about this for a different way to approach it? It's just nice to have like-minded people around. We're going to look into starting that up again. While the everyday world is busy telling you that it's hopeless to try, or even to hope, you have this separate group of like-minded thinkers. They're totally energized, they understand your trials, and they're there to encourage you and support you. 


It's really important to understand that this isn't hiding from reality. It's not saying, Oh, I'm sitting with a bunch of people and they're going to tell me really good things so I don't have to really look at my bad state at all. That's not true. This is rediscovering the reality and energy that living without artificial limits can bring back into your life. 


But what about limits that seem to be physically based? Whether they're hereditary limitations, like your height, or physical issues or acquired limitations from things like aging, clearly you just can't think your way out of those. Obviously, physical impairments are real, but how they affect us is somewhat under our control. In my time caring for my mother during her later years, a number of years back, she was wheelchair bound. I had the honor of meeting many other people when we're out with other physical limitations, and they would put me to shame with all they accomplished, despite their mobility challenges. 


I'll save the details for another episode, but I'll suggest that you never say to such a motivated person how difficult it is to get things done today, because then you hear what they got accomplished without any of your physical advantages, and it makes you realize the limitation isn't your age or your sore back. The limitation is your attitude and your own perception and perceived limitations. They aren't real. You've made them up. I hope you're starting to see that many of our limitations are the result of learned behavior that can be unlearned. 


Some of the learning is from family and close environment. Some of it's from society and media as a whole. Some of it's from what we learned in school, which is also affected by what society wants us to believe.  But some of the most closely held beliefs arise from within ourselves. They may be in response to outside inputs such as events at school or with peers, but often we take those and blow them up into huge events when in reality it was something small.


But when we don't have an answer, we turn it into a limitation. It may be our brain trying to keep us safe by saying that if we aren't able to do it well, we don't want to, or no one in our family could do that, so it wasn't our fault, or some other external reason, so we wouldn't have to feel like it was our fault.


While it works okay in the moment, the issue with that is it becomes ingrained in us as a potentially lifelong limiting belief. I'll give you a real, honest-to-God, personal real life case in point. My family has three generations of physicians. One of my brothers is a physician. My father is a physician. My grandfather is a physician. There's a long history of physicians in my family.


I wanted to be a doctor, but I didn't think I could handle life and death responsibility, so I thought about it, and decided to go into engineering, because I thought it was safer. As it turns out, I still end up on life-and-death projects. But at the time, I didn't realize that, so I just picked a different career. Now fast forward 40 years, and after a couple of hurricanes disrupted all the emergency medical care in my area, I went out and became a wilderness first responder. What changed? I changed my focus from all the things that could go wrong helping someone to all the things that could go right. 


It completely changed my attitude and removed a lifelong limitation. Forty years of limiting belief destroyed and removed in a two week period.  Essentially nothing in me changed physically, or even really mentally, in so far as capabilities.  It was simply reprogramming my brain with a new reality and seeing my life in a different way. We're all built with the ability to exceed any and all limits that we need in order to live our life to the fullest potential. You should never lose sight of that amazing power and ability to grow in ways you can't imagine. Until you can imagine them, and then you should take full advantage of them.  


That's it for tonight. I hope you enjoyed thinking about exceeding every possible limit that you desire and now realize that many of them are really limits that we, often with the help of those around us, created for ourselves.


More importantly, though, is that since we created them, we can remove them and live our lives in ways that we didn't think were ever possible. This isn't about making believe, setting goals that can't possibly happen, and wanting to be a billionaire by tomorrow. This is really about setting goals to match our potential, irrespective of perceived limits, and then finding a path to remove those limits and living the life that we know we're capable of. 


Your homework (optional of course) is to think about something you just know that you can't do or achieve. Now write down some reasons it can't be done. Make it a stretch goal, not something silly (like becoming a billionaire by tomorrow), but something that's plausible. Something that's not trivial to do. Think about all those things that you've told yourself why you couldn't possibly do it.


Now for the extra points. If you take a couple of those reasons and say, How could I do this if I knew I couldn't fail? Remember that. We've talked about this before. A lot of times, if you're trying to do something, the first thing your brain does to keep it safe is say that this or that bad thing could happen.


Just shut that off for a minute. How would you approach this? How would you do this? What would you try and do if you knew that you could not fail? Write down what you would do.  You don't have to do anything else. That's the end of that part of the extra points for the homework. But your mind will start working on getting you to where you want to be. Before you expect it, you'll see a path clear to the goals that before you thought were completely unobtainable. 


That's it for the evening. As always, UKR7.com, has links to aid Ukraine, and WCK.org is the link for World Central Kitchens. 


That's it for the evening. Please remember the war in Ukraine and all the wars that are going on everywhere. There's a lot of suffering in the world. It's particularly appropriate right now, since it's US Thanksgiving this week. We are extraordinarily fortunate here, and in a number of places in the world.


That's not to say that everybody here has it perfect. That's not so. There are certainly people here who are deprived and suffering, and we want to help those people as well. This isn't to help somebody else instead of ourselves, not at all. This is just to try and be open minded to helping people in general.


Whether it's helping them with food during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, whether it's helping them with donations to an organization that helps them, whether it's just helping them with a smile when you pass them on the street. Just a little thing like that can turn somebody's day around. Remember, the more you can think outside of yourself, the more it changes your perspective on the world. It moves you from looking inward to outward, and it tends to make the world look like a brighter place. One of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. Always keep that in mind. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button.


If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week at 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, whether you're in the US or elsewhere. Thank you again. 


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