Know your limits – before you can break them

There’s been a long time trend in motivational trainings of: breaking limiting beliefs, relying on the power of positive thinking, and believing that nothing is impossible. While also adhere to those teachings, I have also noticed that a majority of trainers fail to provide a fundamental step in their teachings. The fundamental step that they skip is making people realize that they have limits. Limits are often seen as negative and talking about ones limitations is seen as taboo in all but a few trainings I have attended. Unfortunately, the result is that many people who undergo these trainings become delusional at first, then disillusioned later.

We all have limits. There are only 24 hours in a day, we are not all born with special talents, what goes up must come down. On one of the first trainings I attended, the facilitator asked a member of the audience to come forward and speak in front of the crowd. The audience member said that she wasn’t a good speaker in which the facilitator promptly stopped her and said that it was a limiting belief. “You should believe that you are a good speaker” he said and “tada” she became a speaker right in front of our eyes. A miracle indeed. But was it really?

Several years later, on pure chance, I came across that same participant and, in her own words, she quipped that she’s “still afraid to talk in front of people.” What happened? In the rush to get quick miracle results, whether aware or unaware, plenty or trainers resort to shortcuts. These shortcuts actually limits the potential of the people they are supposedly helping.

Join me in this example. The power of positive thinking states that anything is possible if you break your limiting beliefs. For 2 minutes, start to believe that you’re the best golfer in the world. After all that positive thinking, do you think you’d be able to even hit a golf ball properly when you go to a golf course, let alone hit a hole in one. Should you be disappointed if you fail to hit a golf ball after all that positive thinking? No, you shouldn’t. Unfortunately, that’s what happens to many participants coming out of these trainings. They go out believing that they can do anything, then disappointed when they fail. They then blame the training and say that positive thinking doesn’t work.

Before you can break your limits, you have to have a firm understanding of what they are in the first place.

I know this needs a clarification. I’m a firm believer of the power of positive thinking. But I also understand that delusion won’t get me anywhere. Case example: I recently expanded my workshop to be held in 5 venues all over the country. Let’s look at my limits. Can I do events simultaneously in different locations? No. Can I hold the workshop on different dates? No, the window to hold workshop is limited to a couple of weekends. Was I the best possible speaker for the workshop? As the writer of the material I understand the underlying principles of the workshop better than most.

If I only relied on the power of positive thinking, then the workshop would only be held in one or two locations. I would believe that the participants on other areas would spend the time to travel to my chosen location. It is a very good workshop. But by knowing our limitations, we were able to develop a solution. This is where positive thinking has its place. In the process of looking for solutions, several ideas sprouted out. We first thought of broadcasting the event. I would speak in one location while the rest watched on the monitor, much similar to a podcast. This time technology was the limitation. Plus, the high touch approach we used just wouldn’t be the same. Other quirky ideas such as teleportation and cloning were suggested. All positive thinking but we know are impossible… for now.

The final solution we came up with was very simple. We trained people to conduct the workshop on the satellite locations. Again, limits and positive thinking played their part. Plenty of trainers attend other trainings and assume that if they simply repeated what they heard and learned, then they can conduct the same training elsewhere. I understood that limitation all too well.

So instead of simply conducting the workshop in advance and have the trainers we chose take notes. We held a workshop of our own to re-evaluate the content of the workshop we would be holding. They now became part of the update we made. They all understood the underlying principles of the workshop and, to my delight, the input they gave made the final workshop even better. I was positive that the other speakers would do well in their locations and I was not disappointed. That is the power of positive thinking. All of that could not have been accomplished had we not understood our limitations at first then used positive thinking to find a solution.

Every real accomplishment that mankind has made started with having a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do. From buildings, to cars, to ships, to space travel, to medicine all started with people who knew the limits, used the power of positive thinking to overcome those limits. Then proved that nothing is impossible.

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