2 By 2 Steps To Knowing Your Limits


Knowing your limits is more than just quitting why you are ahead, it also means asking for guidance especially when you think you do not need it (and when you think you don’t).

In this post, I will share the 2 By 2 Steps to Knowing Your Limits including the practical ways to align them to your daily life.

The first time I watched my almost 3-year-old daughter wear my shoes, she stumbled a few times and then came to me and told me to “wear this”. Now she would ask me to “remove shoes” so she could wear them and then return them to me and say “wear mummy shoes” and then ask me again to “remove shoes” and then wear them again. All the while improving on her walk.

Now, my little girl, could continue wearing my shoes and keep stumbling but somehow she knew that by asking me to wear them and watching me, she could learn how to walk in them better… and she did!

2 By 2 Steps To Knowing Your Limits
Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

2 Steps To Knowing Your Limits

  1. Stretch Yourself. The only way to know your limits is by doing something that is outside the norm for you. We all know what it means to be in a comfort zone – a safe and easy state, without stressing or attempting to do something difficult or new – but capacity is measured by how much or (in this case) how long a thing or someone is able to push, withstand or hold out for. Human capacity can be measured by an attempt to do something new or an effort put into improving on something old. As an example, if you saw a vacancy stating “must be able to lift 50lbs”, your first reaction may be to pass on the job because you feel you are cannot meet that requirement. But how would you know you are unable to lift 50lbs if you haven’t attempted to pick something weighing that much?
  2. Push Yourself. By stretching yourself you push yourself. If you go to the gym and attempt weight-lifting, you may become overwhelmed by the types of tools you see. You will most likely start with the easiest of equipment/weight and progress by trying to lift the heavy stuff. You may even forget that the first time you tried lifting a piece of equipment weighing 20lbs, it came off as an impossible task. The reality is that in picking it up time and time again, you realize that your ability can go beyond 20lbs and that realization automatically prompts you to try something heavier. Pushing yourself starts with taking the first step towards self-discovery and ultimately builds determination to continue to strive for more. Without pushing yourself past your limitations, all you will see are reasons why you can’t – never knowing how far you can truly go.

2 Steps To Weakening Your Limits

  1. Use / Have a Guide. Having a guide could mean relying on someone or something to show you how to achieve your set goal and there are several kinds of guides you can employ to instruct and influence you intellectually or morally. Strengthening your limits implies that you know what those limits are and you are willing to push past them. A guide will serve as a tool to increase your productivity and help you in achieving your goals much easier. Having a mentor is one of such guides to rely on for encouragement and support towards self-improvement and growth (personal or professional).
  2. Quit. Yes, quit. Most times quitting does not mean failure, it could mean you recognize just how far your abilities or realities can take you. Sometimes, you may need to quit an ineffective strategy in other to re-strategize and devise a new plan toward an existing/ new goal. People tend to weigh the amount of time invested towards a goal as a reason to keep pushing. Similar to the sunk cost effect which “is the general tendency for people to continue an endeavour, or continue consuming or pursuing an option, if they’ve invested time or money or some resource in it,” says Christopher Olivola, an assistant professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and the author of a 2018 paper on the topic published in the journal Psychological Science. “That effect becomes a fallacy if it’s pushing you to do things that are making you unhappy or worse off.” So, if you are on a path to achieving a set goal and you sense you are neither progressing nor regressing, take a bow and move on to better things. The moment you realize that your capacity is maxed out or that your strategy is obsolete and ineffective is the moment to quit.

Aligning These Steps To Your Daily Life

These 2 by 2 steps get down to 1 critical factor: there is a knowing in doing. Meaning the more you do something, the more knowledge you derive from it.

To know if you are good at something, you have to commit yourself to that thing by actively engaging in it.

You cannot fully know what you’re good at if you don’t take steps to discover new things. So do this daily or as often as you can.

  • Keep Learning. Learn more about the things you thought you couldn’t do. Do some research or connect with people who are experts and let their experience guide you along the way. There is value in asking for help.
  • Practice. Always practice what you learn. Whether personally or professionally, every skill requires a process to develop. Nurture it and watch it evolve. Sometimes training is needed to hone a skill. By refining and cultivating a skill, you learn new things and can perform above expectations.
  • Reward Yourself. For every limitation you conquer, you deserve a pat on the back. However, whether you choose to continue to push through or quit, count yourself an achiever for discovering your strength and limit.

What steps jump at you the most and in what other ways can you align this to your daily routine? Share with me in the comment section and let’s learn from each other.

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6 thoughts on “2 By 2 Steps To Knowing Your Limits

  1. Lovely post!

    Indeed there’s so much more we can actually do and achieve if we dare to stretch and push ourselves. We build capacity when we do so.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great encouragement here! Knowing your limits is always a scary preposition, especially since it requires going through pain and doubt. Anyway, thanks for this post!

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