Limitations. Just the word evokes negative ideas of restriction, control and constraint. In day-to-day life we experience numerous limitations, both internal and external. We wake with a limit on time, time to prepare for work and time to travel door to door. We work within the framework of our jobs, sticking to structures, briefs and plans. Our dress is defined by our occupation, our occupation defined by our experience and application of knowledge and drive. Generally speaking, what we experience in day-to-day life is a combination of self-imposed limitations and the limitations of our environment and those around us.
The interesting thing about these limitations is that we become comfortable in our environment. We become engrained in routine and structure and pigeonhole ourselves - how we view ourselves and indeed how we would like others to view ourselves. We surround ourselves with people, places and things that make us comfortable and at ease. What we lose in the process is the curiosity of challenge, the romantic idea of adventure and ideas of limitless freedom.
It is commonplace in society for individuals to become dependent on the systems and structures they have in place that they perceive as normal. We finish the working week with drinks, we catch up with friends and family over lunches and dinners, we become routinely predictable, building habits within our circle of influence. How often do we sacrifice opportunity and potential in our lives in favour of the easier and more understood option?
The desire to learn and grow is in direct combat with our self-imposed structures and limitations. How many people have refused to try yoga due to being inflexible? How many people have missed out on the benefits of running because they deem themselves unfit or too old to run? How many people are missing the benefits of weight training due to having no experience with friends or family doing resistance training? Are we taking chances, pursuing growth and development outside of our comfort zone, or are we sitting comfortably, denying the benefits of change and improvement. The obvious lesson at hand here lies in stepping away from the structures and comforts we place on ourselves and those around us, and opening up to the potential of exploration, growth and discovery.
In May this year, in the Blue Mountains of NSW, a crowd of around 500 people witnessed just that. As presentations for The North Face 100 ultra-marathon were underway, the final finishers were making their way to the finish, some 27 hours after the starting gun had sounded. As the podium was being announced and prizes awarded, in strolled 72-year-old Alf. Alf didn't look like the popular media construed image of a runner; in fact, he had shunned the usual technical fabric for warmer and arguably more fashionable flannelette. He carried a large pack and walked with an enthusiasm and purpose that had been missing from most of the morning's proceedings. Alf crossed the line, completing the gruelling 100km 19 minutes within the cut off time. After waving to the crowd, Alf grabbed the microphone for a thank you talk and produced his laminated race plan that contained three simple words, "never give up".
The real magic in your training happens when you step away from the known and recognisable parameters in your life where you understand limitations and consequence. It is often the easy decisions and the easy choices we make that are at the root of our problems. The beauty lies in trying new things. Our own goal setting, training and routines don't have to be bland. We have plenty of other opportunities in life to make things bland.
There is no better time than the present to be trying new things. Go for a hike with the family. Catch up with friends over tennis or a walk. Reconnect to your inner child and find the joy and freedom in riding a bicycle again. Discover the beauty of ocean swimming. Bring a friend along to a Vision Group Training session. The opportunities are endless. Real growth exists when we stray from limitations of age, gender and ability and accept that the only limitations in our lives are the ones we place on ourselves and those around us.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.