Our bodies are powerful instruments, but they have limitations that may dictate how we live our lives.
Athletes know all too well about physical and psychological barriers. Their bodies and minds are molded with time into the most effective shape for their sport allowed by personal genetics. Even more so do athletes competing with a disability. They push the limits of their condition day in and day out. So what can be learned from such superhuman efforts that could help in our everyday lives?
Take a critical look at your limitations
First, we need to recognize our limitations, and second, we need to decide which ones are permanent and which only exist in our minds because of a personal or a social perception.
The line between the two is often blurred. Although we cannot change our physical age, we can control our attitude toward it and make others follow the lead. Same can be said about other physical attributes, including weight and even height. In addition to burning fat or building muscles, a person can look taller or shorter by straightening up or sagging down. Our demeanor manipulates our appearance.
Visualize yourself as you want others to see you
Decide on the impression you want to project and act accordingly. Start with planting the seed of a new you in your mind. Visualize yourself as you’d want others to see you. Athletes use personal visualization every day to break performance barriers. So can you.
With time and repetition, the unimaginable begins to shape up into identifiable and almost tangible. Transforming from amorphous to structural, it will eventually present itself with a battle plan on how to be assessed, engaged and conquered.
Use your limitations as a gateway to opportunities
Now, as we have a specific target and a battle plan, let’s make a quick cost-benefit analysis. Is it worth the fight? It might not be as simple as it may seems at first blush. For most, the answer is “it depends” as the road ahead promises to be bumpy, unpleasant or even painful. It will require sacrifices, the most certain of which is an immediate comfort zone.
On the other hand, it is an opportunity for transformation. Facing a limitation is a first step in a personal exploration journey. Think of it as a gift of life, a challenge and a chance to become a better, stronger, more resilient and even more creative you.
Look again at athletes. Some who lack brute force may beat the competition by being creative and using a high game IQ. Others explore different training routines to excel at their discipline. Yoga, dance or soft martial arts appear regularly in training routines of all levels of athletes to increase agility, flexibility and core strength. Some may apply their prowess in a different sport altogether, better suited for a particular skill set, natural tendencies or a body type. There are plenty examples of strong sprinters becoming elite bobsledders, ice skaters transforming into professional hockey players, and soccer players carving a path in the NFL as kickers. Opportunities for creativity are endless.
Embrace the experiment. Whatever effort may be required, the goal is probably worthwhile. So saddle up for an exciting journey because when it’s over, you’ll find a different person staring back at you in the mirror. Maybe it won’t be the exactly same person you had imagined, but it would certainly not be the old grumpy one you were once before.