“Maybe other people will try to limit me, but I don’t limit myself.”
– Jim Carrey
Sometimes the best pieces of advice come from the most random people and the most random time.
The year was 2005 and I was just finishing my second year studies at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. I was chatting with another student about what we would be doing after the semester. I mentioned to him that I planned on taking a vacation to the Adirondack Mountains, which is close to the border between New York and Vermont. I would be renting a car to go on the trip, but Enterprise wouldn’t allow me to take their car into Vermont, so I would therefore only be on the New York side.
No big deal I thought, there is plenty to do in New York, way more than I could possibly accomplish during this short trip.
He turned to me and he uttered the words that still ring clearly into my ears today. “Don’t limit yourself”.
I had never spoken to this person previously, nor have I spoken to him since, but his message has had a lifelong effect on me.
When I went to get my rental car for the trip, I asked the rental agent if it was possible to add Vermont as a place I could take the car. She was more than willing to oblige. I went to Vermont on the trip and had the time of my life. The colors were gorgeous, the sites were beautiful and the people there were so wonderful. I went on boats, rode a horse and got a firsthand look at how Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is made. I returned home with souvenirs, with memories and with the life lesson that one should never limit themself.
As I wrote in my previous article, Bridge Out, that one must always try to take their lessons and try to apply it to other areas. If I only applied “Don’t Limit Yourself” to this vacation, then I’m limiting myself. It is important to take this lesson and use it as a way of analyzing whether or not you are making the correct decision. When I am making a decision, I find myself constantly reminding myself not to limit myself.
Let me offer an example. A parent is taking their child to the mall. The parent has the intention to only stay at the mall for half an hour. As the parent is driving to the mall, they see that they can either park on the street where they can legally park for one hour, or they can park on the adjacent street where they can legally park for three hours. Often the parent will decide to park in the one hour zone, since they only intend of being there for half an hour.
But is that the smart choice?
What happens if they arrive at the mall and they see that there are special activities going on at the mall that are great for their child? What happens if they suddenly remember that they need to buy something for their child, and they can get it at the mall right now? Is the parent able to change their original plan or have they limited themselves to spending no more than an hour in the mall due to where they parked?
When one is able to truly apply the principle of ‘Don’t Limit Yourself’ into their daily life, they will find ways to give themselves more flexibility to adapt to changes.
Is this a rule that one should apply 100% of the time? Absolutely not!
There will be times when you will want to limit yourself. If you are on a diet perhaps carrying less money on you will help prevent unwanted snacking. If your schedule doesn't afford the option of staying at the mall longer than an hour, parking in the one hour parking area can give you added motivation to get out of the mall within an hour.
There will be times to limit yourself and times not to limit yourself. Make an effort to recognize which is which and be extremely careful not to unnecessarily limit yourself.
Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more. He also lectures on the topics of communication and child safety.
You can email Yisroel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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