To Accept Limits or Not – That is the Question

There are limits; it’s dangerous to believe otherwise.


Accepting limits enables peak performance. For example, cars are designed for peak efficiency while running within a limited rpm range.


Surpassing limits lowers performance. The more frequently you exceed limits the sooner you fail. The further from boundaries the more devastating the failure – think of holding the gas pedal to the floor and over-revving an engine until it fails.

5 Limits:

  1. Physical limits. Junrey Balawingm, the shortest man alive – 23.6 inches (60 cm) – will never be a professional basketball player.
  2. Emotional limits.
  3. Intellectual limits. Yes Johnny, some people are smarter than you.
  4. Skill and ability limits.
  5. Aptitude limits.

Pressing through limits:

On the other hand, many limits should be rejected. Reject self-imposed limits by embracing or creating discomfort.

Limits and comfort are separate things. If you feel comfortable you’re functioning well below your limits. It’s time to push.

Breaking through requires:

  1. Discipline – pressure from within.
  2. New challenges – pressure from without.
  3. Development – education and training.
  4. Crisis – unexpected, unmanageable circumstances.
  5. A believer – someone who knows you have more in you than you think.
Bonus: The belief that you have more to give.

In a word, breakthroughs require discomfort coupled with belief. Excellence is never easy.

The next level:

Leaders make others uncomfortable so others can exceed self-imposed limitation.

The context of making others uncomfortable is encouragement – believing in them. In other words, successful leaders prod and poke with one hand while comforting and encouraging with the other.

Combine new challenges with support. Remember however, don’t support too much; less is more. The less support you give the stronger they become. You’re developing leaders not needy co-dependents.

Warning, less support means more frustration. Frustration is good until it becomes distracting. Support isn’t removing discomfort; it’s enabling through it.

Have you accepted the reality of limits?

How do you press through self-imposed limits? 

How do you help others press through limits?