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Breaking personal ceilings

We have seen it time and time again, physical handicaps can be overcome. We have seen athletes like Natalie du Toit achieve remarkable success, through hard work and the complete belief that her goals were achievable. What really holds us back is our own self-imposed limitations, the internal often, critical conversations we have with ourselves.

A physical handicap is valid and unchangeable, whereas a self-imposed limitation is imaginary and changeable – it adapts quickly, often presenting a 100 reasons why something won’t work. Self-imposed limitations can become disabilities if we allow them to prevent us from achieving our potential. When a person sets subjective limits on their capacity, they rarely go beyond them. Here are four principles that can help you break through self-imposed limitations with commitment and consistency.

Change your personal horizon:

Your horizon is derived from who you think you are, what others can expect from you, and how are you unique. In addition, you have a self- image and a set of matching internal beliefs. Recognise that it is not your talent or skills’ holding you back, but what you believe about your personal horizon. As We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. Changing your personal horizon may mean the difference between satisfactory or spectacular achievements.

Leave the known:

Self-imposed limitations cause us to underestimate ourselves and overestimate others. As a result, we tend to stay within our comfort zone and become risk resistant. One way to break through this safety zone is to try something you have never attempted. To increase your courage, it is important to focus on possible gains instead of possible losses. Remember, not every race can be won, but losing is guaranteed if you never enter the race.

Watch your mouth:

Words can be our greatest asset or liability… How we talk to ourselves shapes our perspective and can lift us up or knock us down. Positive language can open new possibilities, increase motivation and be a powerful catalyst for overcoming imaginary barriers. Remember, there will be plenty of people that say, “You can’t.” Make sure that person is not you!

Play up:

A number of pro athletes use a strategy to improve their game, it’s called “playing up.” This means intentionally playing matches with others who are more advanced. By doing this they improve their skills and push themselves to new levels of competition. Find people who encourage you to do more and be more. This will inspire you to “play up” and push you beyond your self-imposed limitations.

You have a bright future that you can create by crushing imaginary limitations! Will there be setbacks? Absolutely! It is our choice whether we see it as a loss that limits us, or we can use it as a lesson we can grow from.

For more about one of South Africa’s most inspirational athletes, Natalie du Toit: visit her wikipedia page (CLICK HERE) or see her talk about her story (CLICK HERE)

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