What’s Stopping You? Our Perceptions of Limitations

“Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on your own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon.” ~Denis Waitley, American author and speaker

What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back?

What is preventing you from changing your life; from making yourself happier; from living better; from being a better person for your family and friends and all those around you?

Stop reading for a moment — count what’s stopping you on your fingers, right now. List three examples in your mind. Here, I’ll give you mine: (1) financial, (2) fear, (3) patience/impatience (I’ll elaborate more on these later).

Step outside of your own mind: are those things really stopping you? Are they really holding you back? Or do you simply perceive those things to be the hindrances — the immovable hurdles obstructing you — from changing for the better and improving your life?

Cause, or Effect? Our Perceptions of Limitations

Take a moment and consider if these perceived limitations are merely used by us as crutches to maintain the status quo of our lives — no matter how much we complain or think we want things to change. Lingering on the subconscious of our minds, we might truly fear change, even if its for the better. We might be afraid that we will fail in our efforts, or even fear achieving what we want…

What if I accomplish my goal, and I’m not any happier? What if I lose everything I have and realize that I didn’t need this achievement in the first place?

What is really stopping us from doing or achieving anything in our lives? Are there really any limits to what we can do in today’s world, or is the only thing that prevents and limits us from achieving what we wish the perception of limitations? If we dig deep enough, I think we’ll each begin to recognize that what we perceive to be stopping us from achieving our goals, finding our happiness, and improving our lives are merely our perceptions of limitations.

What’s Stopping Me?

1.) Financial

An obvious contender that I’m sure 99% of readers can associate with. Since leaving the world of politics in 2009, I haven’t pulled a steady paycheck in over 16 months. Freelancing is an odd business, and one that comes with sporadic paydays and long droughts of nothing. I’ve managed to stretch my checkbook for a while, but financial issues — specifically, how can I maintain current spending to enjoy my life while saving some money to invest in my future — continue to hound my mind. For me personally… I don’t have a family, a wife, children, a dog, or even a goldfish for whom I need to provide. This naturally allows me a lot of leeway to follow my dreams of becoming a career author with little concern over immediately providing for a family — I can simply cut and limit personal expenses.

WHAT’S STOPPING YOU? Can you really not afford to take a chance to make things better? Can’t you somehow manage to provide for those whom you love while establishing the framework for making a better life for yourself and your family (the answer, unquestionably, is yes). Will you allow money to deter you?

2.) Fear

Fear, I think, is one of the most impactful motivators and perhaps the single greatest deterrent in every human life. So naturally, fear plays a huge role in what we perceive to be limiting our abilities to change and improve our lives. Fear is what stops us from taking a leap of faith if we cannot see a net beneath us. Not knowing what will come tomorrow is what stops us from taking matters into our own hands and changing our lives here, now, today, in spite of what we think is the right thing to do to make things better. For me, pursuing my dream of becoming a writer and career author with the bigger goal of connecting with and inspiring others required climbing this major hurdle — but fear still and will always play in influence in what we perceive to be limiting our lives.

WHAT’S STOPPING YOU? We all have fears: what are you afraid of? What are your insecurities? Would not the greatest regret in your life be to look back upon your time on earth and realize that you allowed fear to dissuade you, to deter you, to stop you from living your life fully and to the best of your abilities? Will you allow fear to deter you?

3.) Patience/Impatience

As I’ve written before, patience is necessary in every aspect of life, especially when it comes to pursuing dreams and achieving goals. Dedication, determination, and perseverance are crucial. But, what if being too patient means that your sense of patience becomes hesitation or reluctance to take matters into your own hands and spring into immediate action? I always perceived myself to be pretty impatient, especially in my youth. But with time and as I have grown older, I have said, Maybe I’m more patient than I realize… and over recent months have finally begun asking outright, Am I *too* patient?

WHAT’S STOPPING YOU? Although patience is important, sometimes we just need to pounce; to jump without looking and to act on instinct without considering every possible implication of our actions. A balance between patience and impatience is, of course, integral. Striking the balance is tough to find, and one I often find myself wondering over time and again.

Will you allow patience to become hesitation and reluctance to act? Will you allow impatience to derail your dreams and goals and happiness?

So, what’s really stopping you?

What is really stopping you? Are those things really stopping you, or is it your perception of your limitations that is holding you back? What do you think about my own perceived limitations in the list above? Although I often wonder these questions and ponder these perceived limitations, much remains clear to me:

Anything is possible, if we allow it to be. We can achieve whatever we wish, if we open ourselves to that reality. The sky is the limit, if we are brave enough to soar.

Flickr photo credit: James Emery

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