Limits, Boundaries and Assumptions (Oh My!)

OK, all you math dweebs out there, this is my one shout-out per year. (And I’m sure I’ll get something wrong.) The graph above is a representation of a limit. The dotted line will approach the arrow forever, but will never reach it. (Kind of like an object approaching the speed of light or my desire for six-pack abs.) The funny thing is that the dotted line is actually making progress, but the limit that’s been set will forever prevent it from crossing that threshold.

And you and I do the same thing in our life too.

When we allow false assumptions to creep into our life, we are setting artificial limits on how we engage and how far we can go. These assumptions about life, work, what’s possible, who we are, or whatever, operate just like the limit we see above. While we may convince ourselves we’re making progress, we’ll never actually get to where we want to be because we have set an artificial limit on progress.

Some examples of false assumptions?

Sometimes they’re things we were (falsely) told, impressions we have, or the result of past experiences that we’ve turned into permanent rules. It’s important to regularly do an inventory of life and work and see where we’ve created permanent solutions to temporary problems. This is a fantastic place to find operating assumptions that limit our engagement. Also, where do you have an understanding of yourself and your abilities that’s based more on the opinions of others than on your own effort and assessment? You need to be self-aware, but you also need to recognize that systems and infrastructure thrive on predictability, which often means classifying people for the sake of efficiency. Don’t claim those as permanent tags.

We all have real limits. These are enough to bound our engagement. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to live with false ones as well.

Share your thoughts:

Please keep your comments civil and on topic.

2 Comments

  1. Andrea Lewicki

    I have learned this kind of math is best done in pencil with a nice-smelling eraser close at hand.

    Reply

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I'm Todd Henry.

I'm Todd Henry.

I write books, speak internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership, and passion for work, and help people and teams generate brilliant ideas. More

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