How to set your limit

Elon Musk admits that he is a very demanding person. After all, he could not have sent rockets into orbit or challenged a very powerful industry such as the automobile if he had not been able to set seemingly insane limits for himself and by challenging them.

He says of himself that he knows how foolish what he asks of himself and his staff can seem. However, he always does so knowing that there is an element of reasonableness in what he is asking for. His challenges seem exaggerated today with the strengths we think we have. But he has a vision and knows that if you don’t throw your mind and heart over the hurdle today you will never shift your limit tomorrow.

Elon Musk’s PB

At this point you may be wondering how fast Musk runs. To my knowledge he doesn’t run or I don’t even know, to tell you the truth, if he practices any sports at all. Musk has nothing to teach us in terms of technique but he has a lot to teach in terms of the “mind set,” the mentality, the attitude, in short. If you think about it and if you’ve been running for a while, you too have done something you never thought you would do. If sport has never been a part of your life and today you can’t live without it you have naturally done what he does every day, consciously. He does it at levels that few humans can reach but okay, let’s be as realistic as he says he is (sometimes): our limits are a little more contained than his and that’s perfectly fine. We don’t have to challenge anyone, we don’t have to revolutionize any industry, we don’t have to go to Mars. Our program is to take our life and look at it from a slightly different point of view.

Have you ever thought about how much it would have been changed? We make the most important decisions without thinking carefully about how much they might change us. If we realized this we would be afraid of it and stand still. Instead, at some point you decided to go for it, and it didn’t matter how much effort you would put in. You had to and wanted to try, and then every training session was a way to move your limit a little further, to explore what you didn’t think was possible to achieve.

A look back

Setting ambitious limits is one way to think about the future. Doing so, however, you might risk of forgetting the past or not valuing it for the weight it has. And it has a lot of it. Do you ever turn around and look at how far you’ve come? Do you ever look back at a picture of yourself from a few years ago and, for once, don’t pay attention to how you looked younger but just look at the glance you had? Did you see the eyes you had? Look at them now: they have a different light. It is the one that burns in the soul of those who have done something they did not think they could do. It doesn’t matter if the face around those eyes has aged, it doesn’t matter if the years have added to the calendar. It only matters that that look has changed and is happier.

Now set yourself a new limit

Do you remember a very important word Musk said at the beginning? “Reasonableness. His limits were crazy but he knew they were reasonable as well. They didn’t look like it at the time but something told him they would be. After all, all the limits you crossed were not sensible before you beat them, yet you did it. That is why the challenge to yourself always consists of two moments: a look at the past (at what you have done and achieved) and a look at the future. The guideline is reasonableness. This is a very personal component: for some it is doing a half marathon in five minutes less than they did months ago, for others it is just running it. The limit is always personal because the race is only against yourself.

Looking back is most important because it makes you realize that you can overcome yourself, because you have already done so. If you only thought about a limit set in the future without being aware that you can overcome it because you have already done so, you would not achieve much. We would not succeed even if the limit was not reasonable and measured against our capabilities. The frustration that comes from not crossing a line is not always attributable to our physical or mental condition but more often to how senseless what we were asking of ourselves was.

Disappointment is an error of judgment. A wrong assessment is very personal and depends only on ourselves. Haven’t you been able to do something? Perhaps you had set too ambitious and unreasonable a limit for yourself. You may have to approach it little by little. Maybe you just have to give time to time, knowing that all the time you devote to running and your body is given back to you and is never lost.

(Photo by Larisa Birta on Unsplash)


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