Personal Limitations, where do they come from?
Starting something new is tough. Why? Do we fear failure, vulnerability or just enjoy the comfort and competence of being able to do something. We as humans are wired to do things that feel safe and easy, effectively where there is no threat of danger. I don’t know, but I know for a fact that going outside my comfort zone makes me feel alive.
I was on the phone to my performance lifestyle advisor last week, you know just catching up and going over everything that’s going on just now. Basically, he was checking in on me to make sure I was doing ok post hip surgery. I may add; progress is quite exciting right now, I can get out of bed myself, I can get in and out of a car quite ‘easily’ now and I’m really starting to notice differences day on day. I even got my stitches out today so that feels like big progress.
Anyway, we were chatting, I mentioned I had finally started my blog, the one I had spoken about for a few years with him, the one I didn’t know how to start, the one I was actually nervous to start but now the one that I finally feel might have purpose. I made a funny comment that went something like ‘if only my English teachers saw me now’, from that you can probably guess that I sucked at English in school.
To be honest, I failed Higher English at first attempt and had to re-do. I much preferred Maths, maybe because it had a structure, a set answer. Like golf it’s objective, you score the lowest you win.
A similar situation, I sucked at art too, but I know I did, and then one of my teachers firmly backed this up when he completely destroyed my clay model thinking it had just been taken out the clay bin. In this case we can definitely say that it wasn’t only a perception of a personal limitation but also backed up by someone else. That situation is enough for any child to chuck in the towel and give up on that subject, guess what, I did. My artistic capabilities peak at colouring in. It’s ok, thankfully the PE department welcomed me with open arms.
So the question then arises whether something similar had happened in English? Yeah ok I failed an exam, but this was already years into the creation of the limitation. There is nothing that I can recollect that made me decide I was rubbish at it, I think just a general struggle and maybe lack of enjoyment is the only reasoning for me to be like ‘I sucked’, and here I am venturing down a path of writing some blogs. I can’t be that bad though, I got a degree. That needs the ability to read, critique and write.
Enough about my English and art capabilities, it a similar thing in the sport world. As a golfer, there is always an area of the game that a player believes they are good or aren’t as good at. Does this come from their own perceptions, statistics, a comment from a coach or fellow player, a specific shot and moment in time? Who knows.
You aren’t born with these perceptions and ideas of personal limitations, they arrive from somewhere, but it can be very hard to pin point where. I’ve always been a golfer who has had good success and confidence standing up there with a driver, but these beliefs come far before I ever kept stats. Did I come up with this personally, or did I get told this. I’m not sure. Do athletes retire, give up, pack it in because they put personal limitations on themselves or do they manifest from elsewhere?
But I know for one that having perceived personal limitations and trying to turn them on their head is rather exciting, giving you that drive to turn those negative perceptions and perceived limitations into something positive. Simply, stepping outside of the comfort zone and just doing it. I’ve thought about doing a blog for so long, but maybe I perceived that I wasn’t good enough, however maybe now I have finally pushed through my perceived limitation that was bred during my academic English career. Sometimes it’s others that help though, on this occasion it’s the gentle push from my family and a couple of friends who believed I could write a blog, and here I am. It’s begun.
‘Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new’ , Albert Einstein.