Posts Tagged ‘self improvement’

7 Reasons to Accept Your Limitations

In Designer Lifestyle on November 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm

What happens when limitations overpower us

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.

Placebo Effect: A Sweet Pill to Swallow?

In Furtherment on August 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

The role of perception and the brain in physical health is supreme. Evolutionary medicine states that pain, sickness and fever are all evolutionary responses for when the body needs to recover from injury or infection. Looking at it this way, it isn’t hard to believe that the brain can numb pain or reduce a fever if it believes that it should.

A placebo is some sort of ineffective medical treatment that is intended to deceive the patient and take advantage of this response. Patients given a placebo can show a remarkable improvement in condition, despite their lack of actual treatment. The usual treatment is a simple sugar pill, but it can extend to types of placebo surgery, where the patient is put under anaesthetic, left to wake up, and told that the operation was a success.

In fact, it’s theorised that a lot of the usefulness of standard medical treatment can be attributed to the placebo effect. So can we exploit it?

In Robert Wiseman’s ‘59 Seconds’ we learn that study participants who were reminded of the amount of exercise they took on a daily basis altered their beliefs about themselves and their bodies responded to these new beliefs in kind. The participants weren’t required to take part in any kind of fitness programme. In short, merely thinking about exercise and how healthy you are appears to have the capacity to make you healthier.

This experiment shows how powerful human belief can be and how we can harness it for ourselves. Thinking positive thoughts about your body can have positive physical effects upon it, but also vice versa. I don’t want to wander into the realms of the ‘Secret’. This is from a purely physiological and subconscious level. In a way, we’re moving away from the placebo effect, which is based in science, and drifting towards positive thinking and the gratitude attitude. Not that I’m knocking them; I have future posts planned on these phenomena too.

The placebo effect has been exploited in many different ways by people looking to get healthier. In Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Body, he describes how Phil Libin lost 28 pounds of weight in six months by only making one conscious change to his life style; he weighed himself every day. Phil theorised that the awareness of his weight subconsciously affected the thousands of miniscule decisions that he made each day, making him healthier because of it. The same subconscious effect has been exploited by people who choose to chew their food a set amount of times before swallowing it. Not only does this slow you down and make you conscious of the amount that you’re eating; it primes and improves the rest of your digestive process.

There are simple ways to apply these benefits to the exercise of your brainpower, too. Regular reinforcement of how clever you are, or anything else you want to improve, can have a physical effect if you believe it. The joys of neuroplasticity mean that there’s always room for growth. Dedication to some sort of mental training will have an even greater effect; there’s the mental growth from doing the exercises and the reinforcement effect of self-belief.

A good rule of thumb is this; if you want to get better, challenge yourself.


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