“One finds limits by pushing them.” – Herbert Simon
For the majority of my life I’ve been the “fat kid” or the “fat guy”. With two working parents, the convenience of McDonalds and a penchant for finding more enjoyable things inside to play with than outside, I was destined to gain more weight than I could shed. As the years progressed so did the weight gain. And with the added pounds came another addition: the belief my weight controlled me. It obviously hurt my self-esteem because I thought I was inferior compared to those who could finish a mile run in under ten minutes and the like. Then something simple happened that changed the view of my personal limitations.
It was during my high school photography class that my friend Chris Duke and I went toward the wooded area separating our school from the nearby library. Keeping us from our intended shot was a near foot-wide stream. Chris effortlessly made the jump, only to turn around and see me just standing there. Chris urged me to, “Come on,” only for yours to say, “I can’t do that,” while motioning that my body just couldn’t handle such a leap. With great determination in his voice, Duke politely said, “Yes you can. Just jump.” I followed his order … and made it. I was on the other side after clearing something that reminded me of Springfield Gorge from “The Simpsons”. I took Chris’ words to heart from that day forward.
To improve and essentially destroy our physical, mental and even spiritual limitations is to truly live. We must not be afraid to leave our comfort zone – our sense of complacency – and test the very boundaries of the limitations we have knowingly and unknowingly set for ourselves. It is only when we push toward a breaking point that we discover limits are made to be broken, not us.