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  • Writer's pictureMartin Benefer

What are Your (Perceived) Limitations?

Limitations are a complex business.

Some are real, others are perceptions and our limiting beliefs can hold as much power as genuine barriers.

The Limits of Your Mind

Start by recognising that your mind wants to keep you safe. It scans the environment for threats, alerts you to problems and builds patterns about what you can and cannot do. These patterns are not based on facts, but on perceptions.

We don't have time to process every detail of every situation. Our survival wouldn't allow it. Instead, we're hard wired with 2 key tendencies that help us learn fast and stay alive:

1. Generalising

We make rules about the world and our abilities based on limited, subjective evidence. We see a gap and we unconsciously recall our experience of every other 'gap' we've faced. We remember how it looked and felt and we remember how well we did. Without even realising it, we quickly reinforce the message in our minds that either 'we can cross gaps' or 'we cannot cross gaps'. Simply put:

We see A GAP, not THIS GAP.

We downplay the differences. We focus on the patterns. We generalise.

2. Catastrophising

We also have a tendency to see the worst-case scenario if things go wrong. We focus far more easily on what we could lose at the expense of what we could gain and tend to lose sight of all the realistic, nuanced and slow-to-process information in the middle ground between absolute success and absolute failure. If we doubt our ability to cross the gap our minds will simply bombard us with reasons to stay away.


We downplay our ability to adapt and cope. We focus on disaster. We catastrophise.

Both these tendencies are normal. They are survival instincts to keep us safe...But normal doesn’t always mean helpful!

Challenge Your Limits

The gaps we face in modern day life are rarely reflective of genuine survival situations and yet our emotional response to them can quickly fool us into believing that they are too big or too dangerous to attempt to cross.

Challenge yourself to question the 'rules' you have in your mind about what you can and cannot do and the evidence these so called rules is based upon. Look for inconsistencies. Find flaws. Look for evidence to contradict the rules and consider how or if they are helping you. You may find your rules need adapting or even abandoning.

Often what has seemed for years like a logical limitation when challenged and reviewed can suddenly seems quite illogical. The direct link between past experiences and future limitations can be scrutinised, unpicked and pulled apart. It takes conscious effort to step back and question your assumptions but it can be done and it can make a huge difference!

Here are some questions to start you off:

  • What do you see as your limitations?

  • What evidence is this based on?

  • What would others say - would they agree?

  • What would it take to make addressing this limitation worth it?

Choose Your Gaps Wisely!

You have a finite amount of time and energy. Use it wisely!

Some gaps are too big. Some are too risky and some aren't even in the way!

Don't get fixated on an obstacle you don't need to overcome.

Not every obstacle is in your way and not every limitation matters!

Focus on the gaps in the way of your actual goals - pour your energy into overcoming them.

Learn to ignore or accept the rest.

Good luck!


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