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The Truth About Limitations – Guest Post by Craig Wildenradt

craig_biggerToday we have a guest post from Craig Wildenradt from Bloomverse. Craig has become a great friend of WSL and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him better.  I know you will too, especially after reading today’s post.   Enjoy!

“Lord we may know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

-William Shakespeare

I was working through a set of bicep curls when I inadvertently proved to myself one of the greatest truths of life. It was a complete accident.

According to my tracking sheet, my next major milestone was to crank out a full ten reps with my 30lb dumbbells. I had been struggling to reach eight at that weight, so even just getting to nine while maintaining good form would have been a nice achievement. I decided to shoot for that.

So I grabbed the dumbbells, adjusted my footing, felt a hint of impending nausea creeping into my gut, took a deep breath, and started lifting. I was working one arm at a time, alternating through the set. I was only a few reps into it when the nausea started to amplify. It was spreading throughout my core kind of like fog does through a cemetery in a scary movie. Nevertheless, I was bound and determined to scribble the number “9” on my tracking sheet which drove me to press on relentlessly.

Push

Around rep number seven, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. With a series of peculiar wincing grunts that sounded like a mix between the Macho Man Randy Savage and an angry bear, I forged through reps eight and nine before dropping the dumbbells and commencing with some much anticipated ballistic stretching.

I did it. Nine reps; one step closer to that coveted next milestone.

Boy, were my arms throbbing though. I paced in a circle as I shook my arms for relief. When I finally felt up to the task of picking the dumbbells up off the middle of the floor, I noticed something that made me stop cold in my tracks.

I had accidentally done that set of curls with 35lb dumbbells—and I pulled off nine reps.

Whoops

I had no idea. I thought that I was lifting 30lb weights the entire time. I grabbed the wrong ones completely by accident.

The truth about limitations

In that moment when I saw what I had just done, I experienced my first clear bit of education on the true nature of limitation. Sure, I’d heard a lot of talk about the wonders of human potential before; who hasn’t? But I’d never had an undeniable pragmatic experience with it until that point. The lesson was simple.

Limitations are illusions that we believe are real.

I’m pretty sure that if I knew I was lifting 35lb dumbbells at the time, I wouldn’t have made it past about three or four reps. It just wouldn’t have made sense otherwise. But I thought I was lifting 30lb dumbbells and I cranked out nine reps. Why? Because I didn’t have the opportunity to formulate a concept of limitation by which to operate. I didn’t have the opportunity to convince myself that 35’s were too heavy.

You see, most of us go through life playing by an imaginary set of rules that we’ve created for ourselves. We think they are immutable. We think that they are universal laws. As such, they dominate our experience. We’re limited by these rules only because we’ve decided to believe in them.

What are your limitations?

Do you have something you’d like to accomplish? What’s stopping you? Take a second to have a look at what you believe your limitations are. Not enough time? Not good enough? Not smart enough? It’s too hard? Don’t know where to start? Not enough willpower? Not capable of it?

It’s easy to think of the “negatives” like this. They typically pop right up and slap you around until you submit from exhaustion. But what about limitations that are in disguise? What about the limitations that masquerade as “common sense?”

In my example above, I was thinking very positively and making forward progress with my strength training. I was using common logic, working my way up in reps with the 30’s so that I could move up to the 35’s at some point. You couldn’t accuse me of being a pessimist there.

But despite this, I was still limiting myself. There was a sizable gap between my logic and my actual abilities, and I accidentally revealed that to myself. It showed me that I was simply playing by made-up rules before—and for no reason other than I was conditioned to do so my whole life.

Kill your limitations

Start doubting every single limitation you believe you have. I don’t care how real you believe they are. We live in a world where nearly everyone doubts and challenges nearly everything they see. However, we don’t dare challenge made-up limitations that we’ve given ourselves.

It’s nonsense.

We all have untapped capabilities that are incredible. No exceptions. Want to see what yours are? Drop the concepts of limitation that you are holding onto. They are the only things standing in the way.

The fact is that in every circumstance you have a choice. You can choose to accept and yield to the limitations you believe you have, or you can deconstruct them to reveal what is really here now. I recommend the latter

By letting go of your grasp on concepts of limitation, you’ll uncover what you’re actually capable of. And you’ll probably surprise the hell out of yourself like I did.

Want some help with this?

Starting on October 5th, I’ll be hosting a 45-day health & fitness challenge to help you identify and break through your concepts of limitation so that you can accomplish your personal goals. It doesn’t matter what your goal is. Whether you just want to go for walks more often, eat healthier, or go all out and get in the best shape of your life, it’s all welcome. I’ve got my own goal ready to go and I’d love for you to join me.

I’ll be showing you how to use the Sedona Method to blast through whatever you believe is standing in your way. You can download my free eBook (that’s a direct link to the PDF) to learn more about the Sedona Method and how it works. It’s simple, and it will change your life.

Check out the video I just posted on my blog to learn more about the health & fitness challenge and how to become a part of it.

Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Got a goal? Let’s get you there. See you in the challenge. 😉

About The Author: Craig Wildenradt thinks limitation sucks, and helps people shatter it using the Sedona Method through his website, BloomVerse. He also writes about practical Sedona Method application on his blog, Inward Bloom.

Josh


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  • Gordie Rogers September 24, 2009, 4:39 am

    That’s a cool way to push through limitations.

    Remember Sir Roger Bannister? He was the first to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Before that, people thought your lungs would explode and that it was impossible. In the year that he broke the 4 minute mark another ten runners did also. It was knowing that it could be done which allowed them to do it. It was thinking that it couldn’t be done which was holding everyone back.

  • Craig September 24, 2009, 5:48 am

    Gordie, excellent example. Thanks for sharing that.

    Even more proof that we are only limited by what we believe we are limited by…..wow that’s kind of a tongue twister.

  • Casey September 24, 2009, 7:13 am

    Going to put on my nerd hat for a moment and with this quote:

    “Fear is the mind killer”

    Great post, this is something that keeps coming up in my life lately, the concept that we all truely have unlimited potential. I personally believe it’s fear of this potential that holds us back. Not a lack of belief in ourselves.

  • Jeffrey Tang September 24, 2009, 7:26 am

    I loved the example that you gave here, Craig – and thanks for getting this post up, Josh!

    It does make me think, though – how much of our physical strength is actually mental strength?

    For example, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the woman who lifted up a car to save her trapped child. Yes, adrenaline was involved, but I’d argue it was her mental commitment to saving her child that released that adrenaline in the first place.

    Your story also reminds me of some of Pavel Tsatsouline’s writings, in which he teaches strength as a skill, not merely the accumulation of muscle fibers.

    Which then begs the question: is it possible to increase your physical strength over time simply by thinking about it? (I’m not advocating laziness in terms of physical training, of course – but how much of a role does unlimited thinking play?)

  • Jim Gaudet September 24, 2009, 7:41 am

    Great post Josh, I mean this is one of those important aspects of your life that are normally just overlooked. What’s that old saying, it doesn’t hurt to try?

    Jeffrey Tang I think has it,

    is it possible to increase your physical strength over time simply by thinking about it?

    the Law of Attraction. A focused mind can really change the way you live. But, it is only a part. Action plays the next biggest role..

    I have heard about this Sedona Method but haven’t read it yet. I am going to check out your eBook now. Thanks,

  • Craig September 24, 2009, 8:19 am

    @Casey
    You brought up a huge sticking point for a lot of people. The fear of outrageous success is one of the top reasons many people hold back and sabotage themselves. But that fear is usually buried and not visible until you do some digging. Thanks for bringing that up.

    @Jeffery Tang
    Physical strength is of course directly related to physiology. Be it muscle mass, hormones, or anything else. However, your mindset regulates how much of your actual abilities you utilize. If you believe you can’t do something, you’re right. I’ve found the best way to test ourselves is to toss out any beliefs. In doing that you see what is really here as opposed to the mind’s limited concept of what is.

    The example of the old lady lifting the car is great. I contemplated including that in the post!

    @Jim Gaudet
    Great point. I emphasize this to many of my clients. First clear out all of the useless mind clutter, then take appropriate action to achieve what you want. When you let go of having the mind run the show, opportunities and solutions present themselves almost immediately. Then all that’s left is taking appropriate action.

    Enjoy the book!

    • Josh Hanagarne September 24, 2009, 9:42 am

      Craig, I believe strength is a skill. Yes, you have to put in your time with the physical reps, but real strength comes from the ability to generate tension at any moment, over and over. You can’t develop that without practice, and you develop skills with practice. For me, that’s the mental component of physical power: can your mind tell your body what to do, and then make it do a bit more each time.

  • Rosie September 24, 2009, 8:34 am

    Hey, I had an similar experience this week. (Though I am not as strong as you, not by a long shot.) A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to “get in shape,” whatever that means. So I committed to a six day per week 45 minute per session schedule. This was big news, because I have never exercised on a regular basis in my life. Well, I’ve caught the bug of wanting to be stronger. Over the last few months, I have learned many lessons, and this post illustrates perhaps the biggest one. I’ve been struggling with push ups. I just couldn’t seem to get past 19 “boy style” push ups. (That probably seems like small potatoes to some of the readers here, but when I started, I could barely do four.) The other night, I had someone else count my pushups and I resisted the urge to count along in my head. I pushed until I could not lift my chest up off the ground again. I was completely surprised when I was told I had done 29. Now I’m feeling curious about pull ups . . . could I possibly do a pull up by Halloween?

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Josh Hanagarne September 24, 2009, 9:38 am

      Rosie, I’m pretty sure you could do a pullup by then, depending on where you’re at. Do you know how long you can hang for? Can you start with your chin over the bar and descend under control? If so, you’re close than you might think.

  • Matt September 24, 2009, 10:11 am

    Weight is just a number. (I just try to ignore the physical laws of mass and gravity.) I find it helpful to not even know what the weight is that I am lifting. That way my brain is less likely to limit myself. When I am finished then I can find out the weight.
    What I find is truly empowering is when you consciously break through a previously held limit. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities that were once impossible and not worth considering. “If I just did X which I thought was impossible for me, why shouldn’t I be able to do 2X.” Well, why not?
    With regards to moms lifting cars, we all have the strength to do that. We just need to have all the relevant muscle fibers contracting simultaneously. Our brains and nervous system control how many muscle fibers are contracting at any one time, allowing us to have controlled movement. Increased strength would come from the brain recruiting more muscles to contract.

  • Craig September 24, 2009, 11:18 am

    @Josh
    I fully agree that the body develops and improves its abilities through conditioning. There is obviously the issue of sustainability though in the context of “strength.” How many times can a person lift a car?

    However, we still tend to inhibit the progress of that conditioning by allowing the mind to get in the way. As I mentioned in the post, even seemingly positive beliefs can act as limitations. I’ve noticed in cardiovascular training that by disengaging from the mind for a period of time, my heart rate actually decreases while my intensity level is maintained. As a result, I can push the body harder than I would normally be able to if I were concentrating intently on it. As in the example of the grandma who lifted a car, in certain situations the mind shuts off and the body goes into a mode where it’s operating closer to actual capacity. The trick is discovering how to harness this potential (that is already there) effectively outside of a traumatic event and condition it. Without the mind involved, who knows how often such a feat could be repeated?

    Science is making some great discoveries in the effects of the mind on the physical body (nervous system and immune system) through the study of psychoneuroimmunology. It’s being shown more and more how our conscious and subconscious mindsets can directly inhibit our bodies’ natural abilities to heal and repair. Amazing healing capabilities are already built-in to us as are other amazing physical abilities.

    So I wonder, how much do we actually NEED the mind for in regard to the physical realm? I’d like to clarify that I see the mind and the brain as two very separate things.

  • Craig September 24, 2009, 11:35 am

    @Rosie
    Awesome! Your own pragmatic experience with it. If you can do 29 push-ups, I guarantee you can do more than just one pull-up.

    Thanks for sharing that!

    @Matt
    An excellent point about true ability becoming apparent when the brain is working in concert with the rest of the physical body.

    Then we go and get in our own way! 😛

  • Lori September 24, 2009, 5:36 pm

    Craig,

    I enjoyed this post. I am not all that experienced with the KBs, but for a couple of workouts. They are awesome!

    My experience with self-imposed limitations come from competing in 1/2 Ironman triathlons, marathons, distance road biking, open water swimming, and other endurance sports.

    It constantly amazes me how much of what we don’t do (both physically and mentally/emotionally) is because of mental roadblocks. I enjoyed hearing about this same experience of yours via KBs. Thanks for spreading the word with your post.

    …you’ll probably surprise the hell out of yourself like I did.
    Amen to that, brother. 8)

  • Craig September 24, 2009, 6:40 pm

    @Lori
    First off, WOW. You are a serious athlete, much respect to you for the different sports you participate in.

    You pegged it. Our mental roadblocks actually flat out keep us from doing certain things altogether. They can be absolute holdbacks. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Lori September 24, 2009, 6:49 pm

    Just a quick follow up to Craig…
    Thank you!
    And hat’s off to you, again, for clearing your roadblocks.

    To be honest, I have a new set of roadblocks to deal with not related to sport, but I’m crafting a post for Josh, so I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. 😉
    The main point is that when people are healthy, working through roadblocks makes for good training when other ‘stuff’ comes our way. It builds our ‘toolbox’, per se.

    What you are doing is a very valuable thing; don’t stop. Keep going! And, keep up the great work spreading your ideals. You are a gift to others.

  • Richard September 24, 2009, 11:46 pm

    Wow! This reminds me so much from the bench press scene in Unbreakable.

    I am still impressed by anybody who does curls with ~15KG bells.

  • Craig September 25, 2009, 7:45 am

    @Richard
    I love that movie! And I completely forgot about that scene until reading your comment, what a great parallel!

    Regarding the weight, when I started that regimen, I began working with 20lb dumbbells. By the time I was lifting the 35’s I was about 60 days in. But I was also working several other freeweight moves and intense calisthenics in the routine. So I definitely worked up to it.

  • Steve September 25, 2009, 8:53 pm

    I’ve had a very similar experience, except that mine probably should have resulted in me getting seriously injured. I was doing incline dumbbell presses with a bunch of weight, and forced my way through 8 reps, the most I had ever done.

    After I went to put the weights back, I noticed that I had grabbed two different sized weights! The number of the weight had fallen off and they had been put back in the wrong place. Because I didn’t realize, I didn’t think anything about it, my body compensated and I lifted both as if they were the same size. I got lucky, but it just goes to show you how important “mind over matter” truly is.

    @ Richard – that’s a great movie, and a fantastic scene. I love how his kid backs up further and further away with each rep.

    @Jeffrey interesting idea. I know this is an extreme case, but a friend of mine had a seizure a few years back, and it took something like 6 or 7 EMTs and Firefighters to hold him down. He woke up the next day wondering why all of his muscles were so sore, not realizing what he had gone through or how much strength he had produced. Eventually some Buddhist monk or mad scientist will find a way to safely tap into this hidden strength within us and then we’re all screwed! (not really, but gives you something to think about).

    Thanks for the post Chris!

    -Steve