A young man named Joe Rosenthal, eager to join the troops fighting World War II, was named 4-F by the Army because of his poor eyesight. So, using the eyesight he did have, he became a photo journalist and took the picture of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, one of the most instantly recognized photographs ever published.
A famous French culinary school told Julia Childs that she simply couldn’t ever learn how to cook.
Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts was told by one editor that he had no cartooning ability.
Michael Jordon, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, was dumped from a school basketball team because the coach didn’t think he played well enough.
Obviously those who were doing the judging didn’t know that each of these people was a “limitless being”, but fortunately Joe and Julia and Charles and Michael did know. The truth is, we are all limitless beings and we all knew that when we were born. It’s just that as our lives progressed, we simply forgot.
As a tiny child, you were fearless and eager to explore all of your senses, with gusto, because that is why you came here to planet earth. How would you know what you liked and didn’t like if you didn’t try to taste it, or touch it, or smell it, or examine it or listen to it?
So, what happened to all that adventurous courage? Well, life happened. You had some real-life experiences that actually hurt you or scared you, but mostly you heard about what could scare you or hurt you and you decided that you would be wise to listen.
“Don’t touch that, it’s hot! Don’t put that in your mouth – it’s dirty! Don’t make that noise; you’ll wake up your grandmother! Get those ear phones out of your ears right now; you’ll make yourself deaf! Get down from that tree or you’ll break your neck.”
The adults in your life weren’t wrong. They weren’t just mean, spoil-sports who never wanted you to have any fun. No, of course not. They were caring people, for the most part, who thought they were protecting you from painful or unpleasant experiences and in the process, by denying you those very experiences they stunted your growth.
Well, you’re grown up now, and you didn’t come here to be protected. It is a part of your human nature to conquer new frontiers and the Universe is behind you all the way. Consider these role models:
If when Orville Wright had contemplated the possibility of flying, he had stopped at trying to emulate what he saw the birds do, (in other words what he already knew worked), he could have stood on a hill top and flapped his arms for 100 years and he would never have flown. But instead, he and his brother opened their minds to receive the new information they needed to build a working airplane. The result was something entirely different which allowed human beings to fly in the same way, if not specifically the same manner, that birds do.
Alexander Graham Bell could have shouted until he lost his voice through closed doors and never had a clear communication with his neighbor and colleague, Mr. Watson, but instead he kept experimenting and experimenting until he successfully created a device through which Watson could hear him very clearly from the next building. Since then, others have built on Bell’s original invention so that now we can talk to someone across the world as clearly and as handily as if they lived right next door to us.
A determined creator will always find a way to create. So if you are still living with your childhood limitations, how can you re-discover your own limitlessness? How can you make the changes you need to make in order to allow your dreams to come true?
First, go back into your memory and recall times that you clearly exceeded your self-imposed limitations and stepped out to do something more spectacular than you had ever done before. Did you make a touchdown or hit a home run, not only to your surprise but to everyone else’s as well? Did you land a job you never expected to be offered? Did you marry a girl you at first thought wouldn’t give you the time of day? Did you get a promotion that you considered to be way beyond your reach? Did you paint a painting, learn a skill, make a speech, teach a class that moved you to a new level of understanding of what you are capable of doing?
Are you willing to admit to yourself that accomplishing those things both surprised and delighted you and clearly moved you into a whole new realm of understanding of what could be possible for you? And doesn’t it then follow that more things like it are possible if you open even wider to the probability of exceeding your own expectations; of illustrating your own limitlessness?
What else is there for you to do that you wouldn’t want to die without trying?
In the famous Broadway play, Auntie Mame, Mame instructs her ward Agnes that she has to expand her horizons, step out of her comfort zone and learn how to live.
“Live?” asks Agnes. “Yes live!” Mame tells her. “Life is a banquet, Agnes, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
Life IS a banquet. Isn’t it time for you to re-fill your plate?