It’s difficult not to feel hard done-by when you consider some of the problems some of us suffer from. We dream of having the freedom to do whatever we want and to shed whatever shackles are holding us back. But limitations aren’t manacles or a jail sentence. If they are managed in the proper way, they can be the inspiration for great feats of creativity and daring. Enough pressure creates diamonds.
There are the more obvious limitations like physical disabilities, health or mental issues, limited finances and poor education. But we are also good at creating limitations that are entirely made up. When you come to accept your limitations, you will escape denial and figure out ways to cope, to improve, or to rise above them.
1. Life isn’t fun without a challenge.
If you could have everything that you wanted handed to you on a plate, it would be amazing. For a short time. But we give value to things by striving towards them and appreciating the effort we’ve put into them. If you could have something without effort, you might end up wanting more. There are reasons that we hear about lottery winners losing all their money so frequently. Some people simply can’t respect their new wealth if they don’t feel that they’ve earned it, so they lose it. What the people we don’t hear about do is realise that using the money wisely is an even greater challenge. In rising to it, they have to deal with begging relatives, shady investors and their own greed.
2. So many others have it so much worse.
Without sounding holier than thou, you need reminding that you’re reading this on the internet – a luxury many people can’t afford. Some people don’t have the money, others don’t have the time. Time they need to spend walking twenty miles to school, or caring for sick loved ones. Having perspective makes dealing with your own issues so much easier.
Even people with severe disabilities are showing us at the moment that it’s no barrier to excellence – the Paralympic games are a classic example of the fact that others can have it worse but still create their own opportunities.
3. People will respect you more for it.
How much more impressive is it to hear about somebody who’s become successful despite adversity? That’s why I prefer the origin story of KFC and Colonel Sanders’ plight over that of Burger King, or the Paralympic games over the Olympics. And with respect, of course, comes inspiration. Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe suffers from asthma but still consistently wins races. Knowing that, I can’t use my own asthma as an excuse to not run anymore.
It isn’t entirely healthy to do things just because others will respect you, but if you can inspire and help others it’s a valid reason.
4. You will respect yourself much more for it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You respect things more when you work harder for them. And having the willpower and determination to overcome your obstacles builds momentum. If it’s a smaller problem, you have the confidence to tackle a larger problem. If it’s a large problem that you’ve overcome, others look smaller in comparison.
5. Worrying about something makes it bigger in your mind.
It’s often said that our minds can’t tell the difference between a real event and an imagined one. So if we obsess over a problem we experience all the things that could possibly go wrong and fail to see all the ways it could go well. Worrying is simply a way of suffering because of an event that hasn’t happened yet (or never will).
The only way that worrying can be of help is if you use it to plan ways to overcome the problems your mind has created. If you adopt a problem-solving mindset then worrying loses its emotional hold over you and becomes a tool for success.
6. You have to take responsibility for your own life.
It may not be your fault, but until you accept your issues are your burdens to bear and in your control, you’ll be somebody’s victim. If you approach life with the mindset that you should solve your own problems, you’ll keep progressing with or without others. And any help you receive will be a pleasant surprise.
7. Having limitations never means that there’s no opportunity to improve.
There’s nothing to fear by accepting them and embracing them will open you up to opportunity and creativity instead of denial. Even if you are unable to escape your limitation, you can reduce the effect that it has on your wellbeing. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.