“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
― Steve Jobs
Limits are difficult for type A, entrepreneurial people who like to insist on getting things the way they want it. And when they don’t, that’s when the color comes out in their behavior. Some people become green with envy, red with rage or a host of other colors demonstrating frustration, anger and exasperation. Some show ugly intolerance, making deleterious demands with iterations that reflect sophomoric immaturity. There is a mentality in the social milieu of our country that disdains limitations. There is an emphasis upon becoming a limitless person. Yet I have discovered great benefit to living within the context of personal limits.
Boundaries are synonymous with limitations. Living within the framework of boundaries has saved more than one addict from deepening the hole of destructive behavior.
Metaphors for the value of limits are all around us. I grew up in east central Illinois. To go home, I often fly from Phoenix to St. Louis. From the airport, I take Interstate 270 around the city of St. Louis leading to the I-70 bridge over the Mississippi River that parallels the old Chain of Rocks Bridge that has been shut down and abandoned for decades. After crossing the Mississippi there is another bridge that goes over a canal built for commercial barges to navigate safely through the Chain of Rocks.
This canal is designed to be wide enough to accommodate the barge traffic with a steep shoreline. It is plenty deep so that commercial traffic can navigate with no problem. For me, this canal channel is a metaphor to recovery. There is no danger of the barge becoming impeded or stuck in shallow waters. The canal is designed and properly sized for typical commercial barge traffic. Within its confines, each barge is safe from the hazard of shallow waters.
As long as addicts stay within the confines of healthy boundaries and respect limitation, they are safe from the hazards that lead to addictive acting out. It’s only when an addict ignores limitations that he or she gets into trouble with addictive acting out. Work addicts frequently lose themselves in the conquest of pursuing more to keep from being less. At some point, one more acquisition only adds meaningless content to an overstuffed portfolio. Ego grows while awareness of personal brilliance dims.
I often hear complaints from work addicts who resent the need for limitation and boundary. Yet, true to the metaphor, individuals who honor and respect limitation discover that they can go as deep within the boundary as they want. Rather than think horizontally, I want this, that and the other, consider the unexplored depths of going deep within. It’s by respecting our limits and going deep within the heart that we have the opportunity to know ourselves best. Canadian poet Shane Koyczan declared that,“To discover the thing you’re brilliant at you first must explore meaningfulness in average experiences of life.” Limitations are the common stuff of every day living. Everyone has limits. The common frame of mind of “having your cake and eating it too” is often unrealistic. Limitation is the average awareness that all must embrace. Rather than stretching yourself to conquer more and more, consider plunging deep within the heart of average everyday experience and mine your own personal brilliance from within.
- What personal limits have you tried to ignore?
- If you were to honor your limits and go deep within, what does your personal brilliance tell you about who you are?
- Does the word “average” only connote assessment and judgment of performance to you?
- If average meant commonplace experience, what every day happenings do you minimize in your chase for achievement and success?
- In what ways do your personal limits offer benefit rather than a burden toward developing personal brilliance?