The name of this site might give off the impression that we are all limitless. That you can be, do, and achieve anything that you want. But you and I can’t be limitless. We’re bound by the laws of physics, thermodynamics, and biomechanics.
We have genetic limits. I’m not 6’1, 210 pounds, and run a 4.4 forty yard dash. Therefore I’ll never be a wide receiver in the NFL.
We’re limited by time. The average life expectancy of someone in the U.S is 79 years. If you live in Monaco congrats, you’ve got 89 ahead of you. That means you have close to 700,000 hours to work with. Some of those will be spent sleeping, eating, on personal hygiene, and coitusing. The time left over should be spent on the things that matter most – whatever that may be to you.
- Doing work you enjoy
We have many other limits too but that’s irrelevant right now. Becoming Limitless is not what this site is all about. It’s about discovering what your limits are, accepting them, and being comfortable with them.
Discovering your limits is a good thing. Limitless eating would probably make you obese. Spending your money with a limitless attitude would most likely leave you in the poor house. Limitless relationships, well that probably wouldn’t work out very well either – and would also leave you in the poor house.
Living a limitless life is about finding out what you’re good and bad at. What your limits are and seeing if you’re capable of just a little bit more than that. Then once you discover those limits accepting who you are and being confident and comfortable with that person.
LIMIT PROBLEM #1: WE SUCK AT ESTIMATING WHAT OUR LIMITS ARE
If I asked you how long you think it’s possible to hold your breath what would you say? 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes? Stephane Misfund has held his for 11 minutes and 35 seconds – Please do not attempt this.
If I asked you how many consecutive digits could you remember in a row what would you say? 20, 50, maybe 100? Chao Lu successfully recited 67,890 digits of Pi from memory – I can barely remember a phone number.
These gents had an idea of what their limits were and wanted to see if they could push a little bit past that. They ended up pushing way past them and they did it with persistent practice. They decided to test their limits and worked their ass off to discover what they were.
Chao in particular practiced for 4 years. 4 YEARS! To memorize that many digits. He wanted it that bad.
LIMIT PROBLEM #2: FEAR OF MISSING OUT
Or what the cool kids like to call FOMO. You’ll have to forgive me, I’m not down with the current lingo. I just learned what SMH stood for. I was SMH at myself for not figuring this out earlier.
- We love options
- We love choices
We love believing that we can be the perfect father, have six-pack abs, build a
million billion dollar business, write a book, become world-class at chess, learn another language, master the piano, all while trying to become a brain surgeon.
Alright, maybe I went a little overboard but I think you get me.
I’m sure there’s someone out there that might be able to pull all that off but for the majority of us that’s just not going to be possible. Take Elon Musk for example. He’s handsome, intelligent, rich, and accomplishes a lot of great things. Hell, Tony Starks character in Iron Man was modeled after him.
He’s also been divorced multiple times, has been said to be extremely difficult to work with, does not have much of a personal life, and along the path to success has had multiple f*ck ups.
We try to do too much at once because we’re afraid we’ll miss out on everything else.
What is one thing you’re willing to read 100 books on, practice 4 hours a day, or stick with for the next 6 months? Go do that – go work on that – put all of your energy there and see what happens.
- Want to travel the world with your family and kids. It can be done.
- Want to learn a language in the next 3 months? That can be done.
- Want to build a side hustle. You can do that too.
- Want to get in the best shape of your life. Yeah, you can do that.
It’s just going to be hard to do them all at one time. What do you value most right now? What will make the biggest impact on your well-being and the well-being of those closest to you right now?
Don’t be afraid to make a choice. Choose to start. Choose to discover what your limits are.
LIMIT PROBLEM #3: YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Most people know what they don’t want but do you know what you do want? I often hear, “I’ll know it when I see it.” No you won’t. It could hit you in the face and you wouldn’t know.
How can you figure out what you want?
Want less: What do you care about? What do you value most? Maybe make a list. Prioritize those things. You’ve probably heard someone say, “I wish life was simpler.” Hell, you’ve probably said it too.
It is simple. We just do a good job of making it more difficult than it needs to be because we want to do, be, and achieve everything.
There’s some real power in wanting less.
Identity diversification: In a similar way that you would diversify your money, you’ll do the same with your identity. Tim Ferriss defines this concept here.
“When you have money, it’s always smart to diversify your investments. That way if one of them goes south, you don’t lose everything. It’s also smart to diversify your identity, to invest your self-esteem and what you care about into a variety of different areas — business, social life, relationships, philanthropy, athletics — so that when one goes south, you’re not completely screwed over and emotionally wrecked.”
No more goals: Instead live by themes. For example, lets say you have a goal of losing 20 pounds. A theme around that would might be living a healthier lifestyle. Define what that means to you. What you’ll find is that themes revolve around behaviors – something you can control, while goals are rooted in outcomes – something usually outside of your control.
You can create themes for your health, relationships, career, spirituality, wealth, basically a lot of things.
When you don’t have limits everything turns into priority number one. You end up wasting a lot of time and expelling a ton of energy simply to spin your wheels. You can not have it all – you will not be able to do everything you want to do, and you will not be able to reach every goal you have. This is the truth.
But you can do more, be more, and achieve more by prioritizing your life based on your values and spending the majority of your time focusing on those.
The key to focusing more rests in setting limits for yourself. Limits are great – you want them.
- They keep people from taking advantage of you
- They keep you from feeling overwhelmed
- They keep you from doing work you don’t like
- They help you avoid addictions
- They help keep you healthy
- They help you build strong intimate relationships with people
- They keep you from jumping out of moving cars (I’ve done this once. Limits kept me from doing it again)
Limits are great. Just ask Dr. Seuss. By limiting himself to only 50 words, Dr. Seuss was able to create Green Eggs and Ham.
But limits can be bad too. If you set limits that are well below what you are capable of they can keep you from exploring life, being vulnerable with people, making more money, or becoming the healthiest, happiest, and best version of yourself.
So how to you set limits?
By having more experiences. Find out what you are and are not capable of instead of guessing. Go go do shit! I apologize if the cursing offends you but I felt it would be a more appropriate word here than stuff.
- Go learn languages
- Go travel
- Go try to run faster
- Go try to lift a little more weight
- Go be vulnerable and honest with people
- Go make friends, share stories, and communicate
- Go bungee jump
- Go skydive
- Go take dance classes
- Go paint
- Go learn photography
What do you want to experience?
Setting limits or discovering them isn’t about limiting yourself. It’s about taking control of your life because you’re actually starting to make decisions.
I can’t remember where I heard this but a life is still a life no matter what pieces you decide to use to build it. What do you value most for your relationships, your work, your health, your money, and your hobbies?
What’s important to you? Start making decisions based on that. Use limits to keep you accountable.
I’ll be limiting myself so that I can give more beneficial content to this site, love more, and live more.
What limits do you need to start setting?
Live Limitless and for today with a few more limits,
PPS: Recommended reading with todays article. The Limitless Book Club: The Power of Less