DO YOU SUFFER FROM LIMITED THINKING?

Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”.

I used to think that there were a lot of things that were unobtainable to me. A lot of places I couldn’t reach. And I was right. While it seemed like the circumstances were holding me down, it wasn’t the circumstances that were really limiting me. It was my thinking. As I grew up, I learned that I could reach further than I thought. I began to understand that the things that were limiting me and locking me into my small life, were actually movable. I could change them.

Courtesy of Stocksnap.io

Courtesy of Stocksnap.io

Hear this again…I learned that I could reach further than I thought. Much of the time, I didn’t try to reach further than I thought. Why, because I didn’t try to think further, and because of that, I couldn’t see very far. I had no vision for it. I was limited by what I thought.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” -Henry Ford.

I can truthfully say today, for me, the idea of No Control is a lie. It was not always a lie though. There was a time when “I can’t help it” was the truth. Not because it was impossible, but because I couldn’t see past the limits.

We often let our circumstances fill our windshield and become so big that they are all we can see. We begin to feel that they are beyond our control. We don’t see any options. Part of the problem is that we tend to bring the problem into ultra sharp focus and then the only choices we see are the ones that are close. Chip and Dan Heath in their book Decisive, call this the Narrow Frame. Often this becomes evident when we hear phrases like Should I, or shouldn’t I? Yes or No. We tend only to see the options that are in the spotlight, completely ignoring all the other possibilities because they are not in the narrow frame.

That’s really something to think about. Our choices are limited because they are the only ones we’re looking at. We may have many more options but we don’t see them because we’re stuck with narrow frame vision. The limit is really what we can or can’t see.

A long time ago, I started my first apprenticeship to learn how to run a printing press. I remember the first time I was washing up the press, I left some of the old ink in the corners & creases of the ink fountain. It looked like old, dried on ink that had built up and had been there for years. When Tim, the guy training me, came to inspect my work, he zeroed in on the ink fountain and made me clean it again. I told him that I thought it was dried on and built up over time. He insisted that I give it another shot and do better. Truthfully, it took me just a few extra minutes of serious cleaning to get the fountain completely clean. My problem was that it LOOKED like it had been dried on and built up over time so I didn’t give it the effort. I allowed what I was seeing, or at least how I was interpreting what I was seeing, impose a limit on me, and because I thought I couldn’t, I gave the kind of effort that comes with “I can’t”.

I’m thankful today that Tim made me do it right. I began to see that when you get to the limits of what you think is possible, you should go ahead and push harder. You will be surprised. There’s almost always more out there.

If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

The question that emerges is this:  Can we change what we can see? Can we change how far we can see? Do we have any control over our vision? I would say that we do, to a certain extent, but I also know that sometimes, we don’t know there are questions there to be asked. We don’t know what we don’t know. So then, how can we expand our vision?

Tim had been a press man for over 20 years. He knew that the fountain could be cleaned. If Tim hadn’t been there to drive me to a better result, I would have settled for my first one. That is the point of an apprenticeship. An apprentice learns from a master. This means that in order to expand your vision:

  1. You have to expose yourself to people who know what you don’t. This is a common denominator in the lives of people who excel. They have mentors or are following someone who knows what they want to know. I have a few older gentlemen in my life that I look to for guidance. I also follow some successful people online.When Jesus gave the invitation for the twelve to follow him, the word follow that He used comes from the words for Union and Road. The implication is To be in the same way with, to accompany, follow and reach.
  2. You have to be teachable. The book of Proverbs in the Bible continually points out that fools despise instruction.
    Pro_12:15  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
    Pro_15:5   A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
    Pro_23:9  Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
    The bottom line is that you already know what you know. To get new information, you have to listen to the wisdom of people who have already traveled the road you’re on.  This usually means being quiet.
  3. You have to act on what you learn. James 1:22 says that we need to be doers of the Word, and not just hearers. We may have heard something awesome that has the potential to unlock the barriers in our lives. The temptation is to think that because we know it, it’s working for us. James says that when we think this way, we deceive ourselves. It’s the doer that is blessed in his deeds.
  4. You have to practice. I have a Fender Stratocaster guitar. So does Eddie Van Halen. I know how to play guitar. So does Eddie Van Halen. Are Eddie and I equals when it comes to playing the guitar? I wish. What’s the difference? Eddie stays up all night practicing all the time. In his early years, he would sit on the edge of his bed practicing while his brother was out on dates. What’s the difference between me and Eddie? About 10,000 hours of practice.
  5. You have to push yourself. Rory Vaden says “You can not balance your way into an extraordinary result”. You must imbalance yourself in the direction of what’s important. In the documentary The Five Keys of Mastery, the final key is Play the edge. This means that you need to always be pushing yourself beyond what you’ve done before. This means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

One of my favorite quotes has been attributed to everyone from Tony Robbins to Albert Einstein. I don’t know who said it first but the truth of it is no less powerful. If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If we want better in our life, in our job, in our relationships, then we are going to have to do something different. We may have to start listening to different people, or hanging with different friends. In AA they call it ‘Changing your playground’.  The point is that in order to see further, we have to expose ourselves to new input.  We can take steps today to remove the limits from our thinking.  I’m in…Are you with me?

If this helps you in any way and you think it could help someone else, please share it. Thank you for helping me reach further.

I appreciate you guys!

Art

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2 Responses to DO YOU SUFFER FROM LIMITED THINKING?

  1. David Moore says:

    Good words I needed to hear and think about. I need to start doing some rethinking.
    Thanks Dave

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