By Gail Lynne Goodwin.
Sometimes the greatest limitations we have in life are the ones we place on ourselves.
I have a friend named Doug, who is a professional animal trainer. He’s best known for his “Hollywood” bear named Bart, the star of Legends of the Fall, The Bear, The Edge and many more films.
When Bart was a cub, Doug trained him to walk on a rope, just like we would walk a puppy on a dog leash. The only difference was, as Bart grew bigger, Doug would still walk him on the rope, but would reinforce it with chain, connected to huge concrete pylons into the ground.
If Bart would tug to go in a different direction, he would see the rope lead in Doug’s hand, and was somehow oblivious to the fact that he was chained from one concrete post to another on his daily training walks. He just knew that as long as Doug had the rope lead in his hands, he couldn’t go anywhere except where Doug led him.
The funny part about this is that Bart was a 10′ tall, 1490-pound Kodiak grizzly bear, who could have gone anywhere he wanted to at any time. He just didn’t know it. He grew up with the limitations of the concrete and learned to take them for granted. He thought the extent of his world was on the end of the short rope, held by Doug’s hand.
Bears are very intelligent animals, yet Bart never figured this out, and instead, allowed Doug to “walk” him without protest.
I share this story only to illustrate a point. Bart put limitations on himself due to prior experience. We, as humans, do the same thing every day. We fail at a business attempt, put our tail between our legs and go home to never try something entrepreneurial again. We have a terrible blind date and vow to never date again. We speak up in a corporate setting to be reprimanded, and stifle our voice forever. We believe our limitations are real.
For a moment, look at your own life. Where have you placed false limitations on yourself? What are your concrete pylons holding you with imaginary chains?
What would your life look like if you knew that there were no boundaries and that all things were possible? What if the only thing holding you back from reaching your dream was a simple piece of rope and nothing more?
Just for today, cut the chains. Dream big dreams. Think of something amazing you want to do in life and go do it. Be outrageous.
The limitations are simply a figment of your imagination. The sooner you realize that the only thing holding you back is you, the sooner you can step into the life of your dreams.
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Sometimes, we grow comfortable with that “rope” that holds us, almost as if it provides a sense of security. Yet if we want to explore all of our capabilities, we need to face the fear of feeling insecure. It’s not easy, but it is completely worth the while. In many cases, our greatest leaps forward come from moments of facing our fears.
How very true this is. We need to jump off the cliff and watch our wings sprout. The outcome is very rewarding!