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.