Have you ever felt limited or restricted by your limitations, weaknesses, or challenges?
I felt this not just once but for several decades. I survived one of the deadliest epidemics known to mankind – Poliovirus at the age of 6 months which had taken away my ability to walk. I have gone through crawling on the floor, to wearing iron-clad leg braces to walking with crutches. All that is among the unhealthy conditions, lack of medical facilities, and poverty. This came with many medical, social, and emotional challenges.
Despite daunting limitations, I went to become an engineer at the young age of 20-21 and a year later I became a scientist. I embarked on earning over a century of educational and international credentials including two doctorates and wrote 18 books. And I traveled around the world unassisted, among several other wondrous things I could do.
For over 45 years, this story remained in the closet as I thought it was just me who needs to make his way through the adversities. Then I observed, everyone around me has their own adversities, their own limitations, their own struggles with challenges and failures. And many of them got stuck in a loop and went through long ordeals to come out of those loops.
What’s my mantra?
I could manage to do these things, not because of some superpowers; not because of any unique talents; not because of any born-with gifts like willpower, grit, perseverance, or any such buzz trait. Simple people seek simple solutions.
I believe most people who get stuck in a loop of self-inflicted or genuine limitations do not always need motivation or inspiration to move forward in life. Perhaps, all they ever need is clarity. Once you have clarity, your motivation or inspiration does not require an external trigger or reinforcement.
My mantra to overcome my limitations was simple – CLARITY.
To get clarity about my limitations to understand them holistically – looking beyond the limitation itself – not just limitation; to see the full picture inside and around the limitations including other good things we have; and then see it in context how it operates and influences our life.
My idea of understanding limitations holistically involves three practices. Watch the full video for the in-depth perspectives and stories I shared and see how it can help you change the way you looked at your limitations, challenges or adversities.
1. Look deep – Is it real or perceived?
We, humans, are fighters, we love to fight with our limitations, right away. But we forget one thing, how to win a war if we don’t know our opponent well?
You need to see deeply when you are experiencing a disability, limitation, or a holdback and understand the nature and composition of what you are up against.
And ask a simple question – Is it even real? Or just made up in your mind?
To answer that fully you have
- To see beyond the obvious.
- Figure out what, how, when, who triggered this limitation
- Then you have to look for the real culprit.
Once you know your real culprit, then you “look through” the limitations to find out how and if it is actually limiting you.
2. Look through – What’s on the other side?
When we face limitations, we get on to try breaking the wall. And that wall blocks our vision. We don’t bother knowing what’s on the other side of the wall. Is it even worth putting up the fight for that unknown?
If you view your limitation or your challenge as a daunting wall, you need to look right “through” the limitation.
And ask a simple question – “What is on the other side?”
And to find a good answer, ask:
- How your goals are related to your limitation? If limitations are even coming on the way?
- What’s on the other side? How does success look to be on the other side?
- What does it mean to me to go to the other side? Do I even want to go there?
Once you decide where you want to go, then you need to “look wide and around” to determine the best course of action.
3. Look wide and around – If not this, then what else?
When we face a limitation in our life, we tend to get engrossed in trying to struggle with it. we get too narrowly focused on it that we don’t see the full picture. We don’t even see that maybe some windows or opportunities opened up somewhere.
What I learned from my ordeal is that you need to look at limitations from much wider perspectives. When you come across a limitation ask – look wide and around your limitation. And answer the question – “if not this, then what else?”
Before that make sure you also answer what less of something you can do and what more of something else you can do.
The point here is that all you ever need to overcome limitations is clarity – clarity is the new superpower. Clarity about your limitations. You need to look at the holistic full picture of our limitations or weaknesses through three simple practices:
- Look deep – is it real or perceived?
- Look through – what’s on the other side?
- Look wide and around – what else?
I believe we don’t even have to break the boundaries. Windows could be right through them that would allow us to see the world on the other side. We just have to identify those windows of opportunity.
Are you ready to transform your limitations into your advantages?
Watch the video of my talk on this theme and see how you can apply it in your life.