If asked to name a genius, many people would answer, “Albert Einstein”. Although he ended up changing the way we see the world, he experienced many setbacks. As a child, he did not learn to speak until four years old and was seven before he started to read. Although he had mastered higher-level mathematics by fourteen, at sixteen, he failed the entrance exam to train as an electrical engineer. As we know, he overcame these challenges and went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.
At times, we all face the challenge of breaking through limitation and adversity, which is a universal part of being human. There are some days when we feel on top of the world and others where we feel small, contracted, and insignificant. One of the reasons is that we are wired to respond to things that appear negative or threatening. Even a single-celled amoeba will withdraw from a threat in its environment, so it’s no surprise that we naturally learn to protect ourselves during our childhood. The trouble is that what may have been useful for a time as a small child, often becomes an obstacle when we are doing our best to lead a happy and fulfilling life as an adult
The culture and society we live in also play a major role in shaping our limitations. There are also the various roles we play at work and in our personal lives that come with sets of beliefs and behaviours. All of these can potentially end up defining who we are, the self we wake up as every morning. Although the limiting stories and beliefs we hold about ourselves are very powerful, the truth is that many of them are self-imposed. When these thoughts are compounded with emotions like anxiety, low self-worth, and physical tension and stress, we end up with a limiting state that sets the baseline on how we normally feel. And we can go up and down around this baseline, depending on how things are going for us at any one time.
We can break through limitations when we realize that we have the freedom and power to change and create our own space that contains how we think, feel and act. We don’t have to passively accept our own habitual and self-imposed limitations. We are always more than our thoughts and emotions and more than the various roles we play in our lives.