The limits we place on ourselves

We’re placing limit on ourselves all the time, in so many different ways. Socially, financially, intellectually. Someone may not approach a beautiful woman because they feel intimidated. They’re judging themselves, feeling unworthy. Someone may not ask their boss for an increase because they judge it as too much, again, they feel unworthy. Someone may not want to ask for information because they feel they’ll be judged as stupid, and that they will be expected to know the information already.

I know I find it hard to ask someone about anything IT-related. I can more easily spend 50 minutes on Google than 5 minutes asking someone who knows. And the only difference is that, by not asking, I can keep up a pretence, my false ego remains intact, even if it’s stupid to waste so much time.

Other things that people find easy to do, that should be easy to do, I struggle with, for no reason than my own mind’s excuses and fears.

A friend of mine recently told me that he couldn’t travel overseas because he didn’t have any money. I told him he was talking nonsense, that of course he could if he really wanted to.

He’s limited himself financially.

Let’s paint the picture in two different ways. In one, he earns more than the average person. He has lots of free time in his work, and is single, so can easily make the time to travel.

But in another, he can’t. He doesn’t earn much compared to many of his peers. He has a car in desperate need of repairs. He has large debts. He often describes himself as a financial disaster. Clients don’t pay, and he has had bad luck financially, so in one sense his depiction is true, but it can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. He expects to inherit a large amount of money, and this has become a millstone around his neck. Until this happens (which could be tomorrow, or maybe never), he is living his life of limbo, waiting for the future, for wealth. Bad financial karma is both an observation and a creation.

There are countless excuses. It’s easy to find some, and create others. It’s easy to shoot the messenger too, disregard what another is saying because they’re rich, lucky, or just don’t understand how hard it is.

My friend can travel overseas if he wants to. He can open a bank account and put aside some money each month until he has enough to travel. He can cancel the DSTV. He can leave the car’s body as it is, or trade it in for a scooter. He can skip sushi. He can live as if the inheritance didn’t exist. Many people earning a lot less than him have travelled. One of my best travel experiences, a month in Madagascar in 1999/2000, cost R3000 (although the Rough Guide could learn a thing or two from that trip).

There are all easy to do from the outside, but hard from the inside, after a lifetime of habitual patterns. We have none but ourselves to blame if we don’t achieve our goals. Ultimately we make the choices, and no-one else.

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1 comment

  1. Absolutely awesome – I couldn’t agree more with you! I’ve often limited myself and I’m a very confident person. Recently, I’ve found myself looking at questions with two outcomes, as you’ve done with your friends situation, and I find that if I go for the one whereby I’ll gain something even if it’s difficult, I always come out feeling better afterwards.

    I always say, act now, embrace all and you’ll grow as a happy person – hang around, take the easier option and you’ll remain in the same position and put all your hopes into something that may never come true.

    Loving the way you’ve broken this done 🙂

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