Most of the time we observe other people’s achievements or lack of achievement as a bench mark for our possible performance. We do not think independently or question the validity of certain limits.
We were led to believe that the human body could not withstand ice cold temperatures for long periods that was until Wim Hof decided to test this theory. By altering his breathing he was able to change his body’s biochemistry and thus withstand prolonged period of time submerged in ice cold temperatures. He achieved the Guinness world record for ice endurance with a time of 1 hour and 52 minutes. This retests the old theory that our bodies definitely go into hypothermia after a few minutes which was a paradigm held until now.
Prior to 1954 it was believed that the mile could not be run under 4 minutes that was until Dr Roger Bannister broke the record with a time of 3:59.4 minutes. Dr Bannister only held onto this record for 46 days and the record was broken again. This record has been improved upon numerous times and the four minute mile is currently considered a standard for most male distance runners. At the time of writing the record for the mile is 3:43.13. This fundamentally reveals when the mental limitation is removed it allowed others to believe that they could run even faster and physiology could be tested.
Another lovely example of lifting self limitation was a story I came across a while back. A 61 year old Australian farmer called Cliff Young entered the Sydney to Melbourne ultra marathon. He entered the race without any training competing against elite athletes and ended up wining the race and breaking the record by almost two days. Cliff shared his prize money with his fellow competitors and did not keep any of it for himself. He was not phased by his fellow competitors and kept his focus on finishing the race.
Therefore should we test more of our own boundaries by trying to explore our possibilities rather treading the same worn tracks of others? The above story shows that even age does not have to cap our potential. Opening up our minds and trying is a way in which we expand our experience allowing more self belief to come in rather than always believing others.
I am not suggesting to go straight out and attempt such feats like submerging in an ice bath but slowly exploring different experiences and by understanding your own capabilities you can open up a world of possibilities. Never let your age, sex and background define your future goals.
Set your own limits !
Sending love and blessings x