I know that many people see the world through a complexity lens. I prefer a Simplicity lens and I am delighted to have discovered Mr Thoreau’s thoughts in this piece which is about potential.
Here we go ….
Is it true that I must limit myself? Is it true that I have a definite “ceiling of potential”? Are some people’s ceilings built higher than others’?
There are indeed, mental ceilings built above people, limiting them; limiting their potential, limiting their resources, and eventually generating their finalities.
These structures are not physical formations. It would take a man many days to build such a powerful, sturdy structure in physicality.
Ceilings of potential, on the other hand, are created in one’s mind simply by personal decisions. When we choose to harbour limiting beliefs we build our own personal ceilings. Therefore, we are only limited by ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau, was a self-willed writer in the Transcendentalism Era who firmly believed in the limitlessness of human potential. He once prompted, “Advance confidently toward your dreams, and you’ll meet success.” Don’t limit yourself. Others can’t limit you. It may seem as though they can at times, but in truth, each person is his own individual obstacle to surpass.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions,” Thoreau explained, “perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” Thoreau is referring to his commonly-drilled objective of persistence symbolized by “drummers” that one hears, which provoke self-inspiration and motivation, toward a given action or circumstance. What motivation will you follow? What limitations will you put on yourself?
There is no doubt that life itself puts limitations on us. We are given certain natural potential limits. I can’t be the seven-foot tall giant that I would love to be. I just wasn’t born with the genetics of being tall, but I choose to make up for that with what is available to me. I was born with the ability to develop a superior work ethic. I can choose to make that work ethic superior to just about anyone else you will ever meet. I can choose to work harder and be willing to last longer than anyone else to get what I want. That is how I can choose to break through my natural barriers or “potential ceiling.”
Play to your strengths. Persist right now and don’t think too deeply into things in life.” Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” is how Thoreau relates this concept. Figure out what you can do, and do not settle for what you can’t do.
Understanding your potential and your ability to persist is much more useful than dwelling on and mulling over your limitations.