Why Can Some People Push Themselves To The Limit While Others Can’t?

words Al Woods


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Throughout history, people have pushed themselves to the limit. In the process, they managed to do things that seem impossible to mere mortals. Climbing mount Everest, swimming the English channel and setting up billion-dollar businesses are all among the accolades that the human collective now has to its name. 

But what allows some people to grit their teeth and push through? How do they find the strength to do what they do?

These are the questions we answer in this post. We take a look at some of the factors that come into play that produce these incredible outcomes. We look at why it is that some people are able to push themselves beyond what seems humanly possible and get incredible results in the process. 

They Focus On The Mind

Going beyond the supposed limits of human performance isn’t just about developing the physical body – though that’s part of it. It’s about fundamentally changing the way the mind works. People who do extraordinary things, typically let go of beliefs that hold them back. At some point, they genuinely get the idea in their minds that the impossible is, indeed possible. 

What marks this transition isn’t entirely clear. For some it is rascality. There’s an element of fun in trying to break reality. Trying to do crazy things like stop the aging process or live on another planet seems impossible. But somebody probably will do it. In fact, they might be reading this article right now. 

They Let Go Of Their Unconscious Hangups

We all have hangups – things that constipate our lives, preventing us from doing what’s possible. It might be the idea that you can’t earn more than $40,000 a year, or that you’ll never be in a happy relationship. 

What’s so insidious about these thoughts is that they don’t always reach our conscious attention. They lurk in the background, informing our daily behaviors without even realising what’s going on. 

People who are successful generally deal with these hangups first. The commonest tactic is getting themselves into an emotional state where they truly believe that they’ve already experienced the success that they want. Their emotions are as though they had a billion dollars in their account or they’d broken the world record in their particular sport. 

Letting go of unconscious hangups is a challenge, though. It’s not something that you’re going to be able to do overnight. You’ll need somebody to guide you and point out when your false beliefs about yourself are holding you back.

They Understand That Pain And Suffering Are Different

Working 100-hour weeks isn’t fun. There are so many other things that you’d rather be doing with your time. Making love to your partner, going for walks on the beach, enjoying an aperitif on a lazy summer afternoon. 

But even though all these temptations exist for ultra-successful people, they don’t pay them any attention. Instead, they focus on competing against themselves, seeing if they can do more today than they did yesterday.

This attitude is possible because it separates pain from suffering. Pain is an unpleasant conscious experience, such as the mental effort required to do your work. Suffering is when you reflect on it, moan about it, and generally make yourself feel wretched because of it. 

See the difference between the two? One is just an acceptance of a passing experience: the other is a sticky reflection on something that happened. 

When you get past suffering, it opens up a world of new possibilities for people. Because painful experiences don’t hang around, they’re not afraid of them anymore. In fact, enduring pain in pursuit of excellence becomes more worthwhile. The cost isn’t as high, allowing people to push their limits more than they thought was possible. 

They Find Someone Who’s Done It Before

There are some great characters who can go it totally alone in life, but they are few and far between. Virtually all successful people in the modern world had great mentors: people who could direct their minds and help them focus on their goals, without the usual hangups. 

Mentoring platform technology is making finding a suitable person easier than it ever was in the past. Historically, it was primarily luck of the draw whether you found somebody suitable in your environment or not. But these days, talented individuals are able to draw from a global pool. 

When you find somebody who’s done it before, it reprograms your unconscious mind. At some level, you have the thought: “if they can do it, so can I.” In many ways, therefore, it doesn’t really matter what the mentor says. Yes, their practical advice can help you avoid the mistakes that they made. But it’s this unconscious recognition that you can do what they did that makes the real difference. 

They Delay Gratification


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The ability to delay gratification is a superpower in the modern world. It’s something that sets you apart from 99 percent of humanity. People who can say no to spending money, indulging in pleasurable experiences, and stuffing their faces with junk food are a rare breed.

However, they understand something important: nothing worthwhile comes easy in life. If you want something, you have to go through the process first. The universe will not yield if you do not. 

Pushing yourself to the limit requires this mindset. It’s hard to justify the pain if you don’t focus on the reward at the end of it. The person who delays gratification knows that life will be hard for a while but, then, once the process is over, will take on incredible dimensions.

They Believe In Improvement

Lastly, people who push themselves to the limit continue to believe that improvement is possible. When 99 percent of people hit the wall, they quit. Even ultra-successful people get to the point where they say that enough’s enough. They don’t go any further. 

But those who push themselves to the limit never stop trying. They keep going because they want to see what’s out there. They want to find out where the true barriers lie, if indeed, there are any. 


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