The Limitations We Face...and How to Overcome Them

limitations performance visualization Sep 26, 2019


Let's face it. Most of us are designed to be average. 

Whether through self-imposed limitations, evolutionary biology, or cultural norms and pressures, we are likely to revert to the mean.

But we don't have to be average. We can be extraordinary - we just have to know how to overcome the evolutionary and cultural deck that's stacked against us. 

The two most influential components that nudge us to being average are our brains and the fact that we are tribal beings.

Our brains are designed to keep us alive, and to do that, our brains want to keep us safe from harm. The brain does this by diligently alerting us to threats and then dealing with those threats so we can survive (e.g. fight or flight). Walk to the edge of a cliff, and your brain sends signals to your body that danger is lurking. Same thing when you are asked to deliver a speech to a large group of strangers. The brain concludes that what kept you alive yesterday and the day before that is likely to keep you alive today. 

Those are good things. Otherwise, you might just wake up randomly one morning and start juggling chainsaws.

The bad news is that the brain helps us create self-imposed limitations that prevent us from getting outside our comfort zone. Comfort = safe. Safe = survival. Unfortunately, oftentimes safe = average. 

The second component that makes us predisposed to being average is our tribal nature. We are tribal beings, which makes us want to adhere to the norms of the tribe in order to be accepted. If we don't, we run the risk of being expelled from the group. Think Jeff Probst in Survivor saying, "the tribe has spoken." It is classic herd mentality.

For high school and college athletes dealing with peer pressure, this is especially problematic. The need to "fit in" provides even more pressure to do what everyone else is doing. Maybe an athlete doesn't want to skip the party in order to get in an extra work out for fear of being labeled a "try-hard." It is easier for them to just go to the movies than risk being mocked by teammates for staying in to study for the SAT/GRE.

And the result of this herd mentality? You guessed it - you're average. 

Don't believe me? Try the thumb exercise in this video. Go ahead, I'll wait :) 

If there was ever a simple exercise to show how our self-imposed limitations negatively affect our performance, it's this. It also demonstrates the importance of visualization and the role it can play in achieving more than we think we can. 

Even though this is a simple exercise that only shows the limitations we put on how far we can rotate our upper bodies, the scary thing to imagine is this - where else in our lives is this taking place?!? I believe we likely have this same mentality in practice, at work, in school, and in our relationships. We just stay in our comfort zone and go through life on autopilot.

So the deck is stacked against us in terms of evolutionary and cultural limitations. What to do?

First, I work with my athletes on identifying who they are and what they want. Start with the end in mind, identify where you are currently at, and then let's figure out a way to get there. 

Second, you have to work on your subconscious. One of the best ways to overcome our self-imposed limitations is through positive self-talk and visualization. If you believe that you're average, you are going to put in average effort. If you believe you're extraordinary, you are going to put in extraordinary effort. 

Want to learn how to do this? 

Contact me at [email protected] and let's get started!

Mindset matters!

Bryan Price


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