QT: Stop Setting Limits on What You Think May Be Possible (Best Of)

Today we are going back in time for a little “Best Of” episode. This originally aired as episode 262, back in the day before I used memes and GIFs to emphasize my points. The post has been updated accordingly. Enjoy

“Limits, like fears, are often an illusion.”

~Michael Jordan

I suck sometimes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty good at telling myself that something is beyond my reach and then giving up the pursuit because something seems “impossible”.

How many times have I said I want to qualify for Boston? I’ve lost count, but just about every time I talk about it I also mention that I need to get older because the idea of running a sub-3:05 is pretty much impossible at this point.

I’ve told myself, over and over, that I’m incapable of achieving my goal until I get old enough that my qualifying time becomes more attainable.

I’ve placed limits on my ability, and I do it all the fricking time.

Some Things Clearly are Impossible

There’s a difference, at least in my mind, between setting limits to what you can achieve and impossibilities.


Point blank, some things are impossible.

As an example, I’m never going to qualify for the Olympics in the 100m dash. It’s just not going to happen.

I can train my ass off, and I’m not going to be able to run 100m in 10 seconds.

Sorry, but some things are definitely impossible.

Limits vs Impossibilities

When I’m talking about the limits that we set for ourselves, and our need to stop doing so, I’m talking about the things that we may not be able to do at the moment but are clearly within the realm of possibility.

Need some examples? Here are just a few that quickly come to mind:

  • I could never run a marathon.
  • I could never run a 100-mile race.
  • I could never run a 5k without stopping.
  • I could never start my own business.
  • I could never learn a new language.
  • I could never…

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people do things like these every day.

So clearly, they are possible. You may not be capable at the moment, and that’s ok, but to say you could NEVER is akin to setting limits on your potential.

Be Honest, Then Surprise Yourself

Right now, I’m not capable of running a sub-3:05 marathon.

But that doesn’t mean I could never do it.

It’s important that we are honest with ourselves about what our current limits are, but remain willing to do the work to push ourselves beyond our current limits.

I know that I’m capable of running a faster 26.2 than my current marathon PR.

I know it for a fact.

Yet I’m really hesitant to pick a time that I’m shooting for at Running with the Bears, because I don’t want to place a limit on myself.

Would I be happy with a 3:45? You bet! But what if I’m capable of running a 3:37 come race day? If I set 3:45 as the goal, aka the limit, for myself at that race would I be able to dig deep and come away with a 3:37 or just simply be content to run a 3:45?

I don’t know. And that is why I’m working hard to stop setting limits for myself and just let the chips fall where they may.

And I’d encourage you to do the same thing.

Honestly assess where you are currently, then go forward and do big things!

And in so doing, you might just surprise yourself along the way…

Originally published at www.dizruns.com on November 24, 2017.