Posts Tagged ‘perseverance’

This blog was inspired by a movie I recently watched called Limitless, staring Bradley Cooper. The movie is about a pill called NZT that gives you “limitless potential” for 24 hours.  In the film, Cooper’s character gets to be everything he’s ever wanted when there is no limit to what he can do or imagine.

It’s all fun make believe, but it got me thinking about the idea of going beyond our limits without the aid of a magic pill. Haven’t we all had glimpses of greatness where we felt we could do anything? Is it possible that we get intimidated by the idea of limitless possibility? The idea that you could accomplish whatever you put your mind to? If we were told we could take or do something that would allow anything to be possible, does that take away our excuses for not pursuing our dreams?

There is a common myth that we only use 10-20% of our brains. And while that particular myth is scientifically untrue, what IS true is that most people only reach 10-20% of their potential. Many people stop stretching themselves, either because they become complacent with their current circumstances, or because they feel the next level is out of reach.

A teenager stretches to make $1,200 a month to buy a car and cell phone. A young woman pushes to make $2,000 a month to move out on her own. A couple works to make $6,000 or $7,000 a month to buy a house or get married? But is there a cap on what you can earn? Or do people simply stop setting goals to take themselves to the next level? Why do some weight lifters stop at 200 lbs. and others push on to 225? We all have priorities in life to focus on. But who sets the limits on how far we can go in the areas that are important to us?

If you know me or read this blog regularly, you know that I am very interested in studying what the great achievers of history have in common.  What separates Einstein, Edison, Michael Jordan, Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Graham Bell, or Billy Graham from the rest? What was their formula for breaking through the previous limits in their field?

There may not be a magic pill around, but I think there might be a formula if you read about these “limitless” achievers and what they had in common.

1. Experienced a dramatic event in their lives that served as a turning point.
Sometimes finding ourselves in a place we do not want to be is the motivation to take charge and change our lives. Those who have ever lost everything, gone through a divorce, had a near death experience, lost a loved one, or hit rock bottom can use those experiences as an inspiration for personal transformation.

2. Had someone in their lives that always doubted them.
Limitless people hear “you can’t do it” – but they respond with “watch me.”

3. Came across someone who finally believed in them and their capabilities.
This may sound contradictory to #2, but both our doubters and supporters play a role in removing our self-imposed limits.

4. Became obsessed with learning and growing.
Limitless people are curious people. They are constantly asking questions on why and how.

5. Had a tremendous desire to prove a point or make a breakthrough.
The Wright brothers wanted to prove the possibility that man could fly. Muhammad Ali wanted to prove himself the world’s best fighter. Limitless people see the possible in what was previously thought impossible.

6. Worked day and night to finish a task.
It took Thomas Edison nearly two years and 6,000 failed attempts to invent the light bulb. A singular focus on the goal is what eventually allows limitless people to breakthrough.

7. Took several risks that an average person would consider foolish.
The path to limitless is not a safe and sheltered path.

8. Made bold decisions.
Courage is not the absence of fear, it is moving forward in the face of fear. There’s a Latin proverb that “fortune favors the bold.”

9. Were very clear about what they wanted.
Surpassing your limits means looking beyond them. Have a very clear picture of what you are after.

10. They usually had a very high sense of faith.
They believed in a higher power and that this ‘higher law’ was on their side. This will be a hard feeling to imagine to most people who haven’t experienced it personally.

11. Had several people consider them crazy
Most people considered Einstein crazy before he became respected. Edison was considered a bit bonkers too. Maybe you remember what they said about Steve Jobs.

12. They had the attitude of “them against the world.”
Don’t bet against this group.  At their core, they were fighters.

13. They went through several challenges
And that is what made them who they finally became; names we will read about in the history books for centuries to come.

I’m a firm believer that God has plans for all of us. He’s given all of us a special set of gifts to do something exceptional with it in our lives. Whether it’s the gift of humor, skill with math, or being great with people, each person’s unique talents are designed for a purpose. I meet so many people on a daily basis that are super gifted and yet at one point of their lives they made it a habit to give up on their dreams and squander the potential of their God-given gifts.

So many Americans are going through challenging times today and it’s during these times that we need to find our inner strength. Whether our challenges are financial, family-related, physical, emotional, or spiritual, persons of faith recognize that the possibility for greatness is right around the corner for anyone willing to fight for their dreams. Reaching your goals is a marathon, not a sprint, and those that reach the finish line are the ones that keep going past the point when many others give up.

When the race seems too long or the hill too steep, here are some reasons to never quit:

1. It’s easy to find a reason to quit.
No matter how good or bad your life is going, you can always find an excuse to give up. But it works the other way too. If you look for a reason to keep going, you can find that too.

2. When you quit, you send the message that you never thought you could do it in the first place.
Actions speak louder than words. In the end no matter what they hear you say, people will watch what you do.

3. Believe it or not, some people will be glad that you quit.
They may not say it, but unfortunately many people you know will hope for you to give up. This is for the simple reason that your dedication to your goal will remind them of their own unrealized potential. Rather than proving your doubters right, let your dedication inspire.

4. You’ll never know what would have happened if you stuck it out.
You know what happens if you give up — you end up right where you started. The hard part is having the vision to see the reward that lies at the end of the race.

5. The consequences of quitting are a lot higher than sticking it out.
No matter how high a price you’ll pay to keep going, the price of abandoning your dreams carries the greater cost.

6. When you quit, you set a mental precedent to quit again.
Think about a person who has tried to diet and failed several times. Their belief in their ability to lose weight is actually diminished with each abondoned attempt. Quitting and perseverance are both habit forming. Which habit do you want to develop?

7. Anything worthwhile takes time, sacrifice, and effort.
The more difficult the challenge, the more rewarding the victory. The most meaningful accomplishments in life are those that don’t come quickly or easily.

8. You’re a lot closer than you think you are.
Sadly, many people give up not realizing that success is right around the corner. There are not always clear markers in achieving a difficult goal. The finish line could be just around the next bend.

9. The process shapes you before success rewards you.
Setting difficult goals will stretch you, teach you perseverance and ultimately build your belief in yourself. It is the process that develops you. Greatness doesn’t come overnight, but it is forged by every inch of progress we fight for in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

10. Life is a lot more fun when you’re in the hunt for something.
We only get one life to live. When you’re fighting for a cause, a dream, or something greater than yourself you will find the enthusiasm, passion and joy that makes life a great adventure.

* I’d like to leave you with an inspirational poem by an unknown author. This famous poem is untitled, but it has been come to be known simply as “Don’t Quit.”

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

– Author unknown