I’ve been writing this blog for a little over two months now and I thought that it was time to expand on what I mean by the term ‘life is limitless’.
My ultimate goal is to live a life without limits and encourage others to do the same. Over the last couple of months I’ve thought long and hard about what that really means to me.
In my first post, I talk about the fact that the only thing that has ever held me back in life has been my fear and without that fear, my life is limitless. This remains true but in this post I want to delve a little deeper into what limits look like in my life and what I want to do more of to live a truly limitless life.
The things I need to stop doing
The items on this list are those things that for me represent limits in my life. Limits on my ability to live the life I want to and limits on what I am capable of achieving.
Over the years I’ve perfected this one. In the past I’ve always been ready with the perfect excuse for not achieving the goals and targets I set myself. What I find interesting is that now I have more excuses than ever to hand for not being productive and yet I’m doing well so far to avoid making them. I mean come on, I have a fairly demanding 9-5 job, I spend a hefty amount of time commuting, like everyone, I need time to socialise and relax and when you take all that away it doesn’t leave much time for achieving dreams, especially if they are big ones! But what I’m finding is that if I take the time I used to spend making excuses and use it to do things that help me achieve my goals, I’ve half the battle won.
Worrying about what others think
I believe that everyone worries about what others think of them and I think it is part of being human to do so. But as with everything there are degrees. If I worry to the point of not doing what I really want to do for fear of what others might think then this becomes a limit that I know I need to let go of. If I had given into my fears about what others thought, I would never have launched this blog and I wouldn’t be sat here now writing this post. I think it’s healthy to curb this limiting habit and I continue to try and do so.
Hoarding useless stuff
I’ve always been a hoarder, not necessarily of the materialistic sort. I’ve never been one to need the latest gadget or car, nor have I been someone who equates my status in life with what I own (thankfully!). Having said all that I have always been fiercely protective of my ‘stuff’. These things in the main can be split into 3 categories: books, music and memorabilia. All three for me represent memories. I’ve often said to people that I view my CD collection as a different type of photo album because all I need to do is listen to a song or an album and it has the ability to take me back to another point in time. However, what I’m starting to realise is that what these things actually represent is just another limit on my freedom and my ability to live in the present moment. I’ll be writing more on this subject in the future.
Limiting the scope of my dreams
Limiting the scope of my dreams or dreaming small is something I’ve been guilty of most of my life but I’m grateful (mostly to my dad) that at the very least I’ve always had the ability to dream at all. Dreaming big can be quite scary and therefore easily avoided. I think we are brought up in this world to be realistic in order to avoid disappointment in life but I truly believe that realism is the enemy of living life to the full and as a result I avoid being realistic as often as I can.
Living in debt
Living a debt-free life is something I managed to achieve some time ago but the pressure in our society to be in debt is ever present. The goal of buying your own home is seen as a given and my decision not to go down this route is often met with confusion from others. Society has taught us that owning property equals security and prosperity. I disagree with this notion and choose not to buy a house and spend the next 25 years in debt as a result. It has taken me a number of years to feel comfortable with this decision. The crunch point for me came a few years ago when after years of paying off my debts and subsequent saving I finally had enough money to put down a good-sized deposit on a flat. The problem was that my desire to travel was far stronger than my desire to own a house so I chose to spend the money travelling around South America instead. This is a decision that I have never regretted and one that I anticipate making again in the near future.
The things I need to do more often
I believe that when I am truly living a limitless life, I will be doing the following things on a regular basis. Some I already do, others I’m just starting to get to grips with.
Giving myself permission to dream the dreams that other people might think foolish is something very new and extremely exhilarating for me. As I practice this one I’ve come to believe that it is the very people who dare to dream big and without limit that end up achieving those dreams.
When I talked recently with a friend about my dream of one day having my own book published, the response was something along the lines of ‘don’t you think that lots of people have that dream and fail’ to which I agreed. However, I think that it is the people in this world that don’t let that fact put them off that do in the end succeed at reaching their goal. My dream is to be one of those people. In my mind the more people tell me that my dreams are crazy, the happier I feel.
Recognising and facing fear
This is definitely where I’ve placed most of my efforts recently and as a result I think I am much more able to spot when I am making excuses not to do something out of fear. Facing my fears has been liberating for me but don’t get me wrong, so far I think that I’ve only scratched the surface of my fears and that there is a lot more work to be done on this front.
Living by my own rules
This goes hand in hand with worrying about what others think and also taking on the fears and worries of others. I used to find myself obsessed by what other people thought of my plans, to the extent that I was someone who always asked numerous people for their opinions and viewpoints before weighing them all up and making my own decision. The irony was that I always did what I knew deep down I wanted to do regardless of what feedback I got.
This reminds me of a story my mum always likes to tell. When I was about 13 years old I was asking her what kind of haircut she thought I should get. She replied by saying “you don’t really want my opinion, you always do what you want to do anyway” to which I replied, “I do if it’s the same as mine!”
This story still makes me smile but more recently it makes me realise how much I used to seek permission from others to do the things I already knew that I wanted to do. I’m now coming to a place where that feels like a waste of time, not just mine but also that of other people. These days I try to make sure that I only ask for advice if I genuinely need it.
Breaking with tradition
This equates to my goal of living an unconventional life. I believe that in our society, there are certain norms that we are brought up to follow. Going to college or university to get qualifications in order to get a good job, getting the good 9-5 job and working our way up the career ladder so that when the time comes we can retire and spend our last few years doing the things we really enjoy.
I’ve gone along with this plan for most of my life but over the last 6 months, I’ve had my eyes opened to another way. A way that many other people are living with success and I’ve decided I want in on that other way. I’ve seen this described in many ways but most notably by Chris Guillebeau who describes it as the art of non-conformity and Niall Doherty who describes it as disrupting the rabblement. I describe it as living without limits.
Being completely me
This is very new to me. If someone had asked me a few years ago if I thought that I was always completely myself I would have said “hell yeah!” But recently I’ve realised how much this hasn’t been the case. I think the biggest example of how I’m learning to be completely me is this blog. Before launching it, I worried that people would think that writing a blog is too self-centred and that being openly passionate about personal development would be seen as a cliché.
Those kinds of concerns are what have stopped me being myself completely in the past and I work hard on a daily basis not to give in to those sorts of worries any more. Another great lesson on this is my ongoing work on this blog. Having got over the initial fear of putting my views on life out there for anyone to see, I have to remain true to myself and resist the temptation to soften or tailor my views in order to please others.
A few times people have said things like ‘you might want to be careful about expressing that opinion on your blog as some people might not like it or get it’ and whilst I am grateful for that feedback, I also know that for this blog to serve any purpose to me or to others, it has to completely reflect my genuine views and beliefs, regardless of the consequences.
I hope this post helps to clarify my position on living without limits. But as ever, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject and what living without limits looks like or could look like for you.