Lesson from a VW Beetle: Turn your limits into opportunities

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) image posted by TeamRCIAWe all live within limits. However, there is a simple process for turning limits into opportunities. It is so simple, you may have trouble believing it will work. The process is: Write it down.

Write down your goals

Write down what you would like to have happen. Write it in a positive way, as though you believe it will happen.

This isn’t magic. It’s part psychological and part biological. To understand the psychology, think back to when you were a child. Before you learned to ride a bike, you probably believed you couldn’t do that. You were too scared, not big enough, or not skilled enough. Your parents knew better. They knew your limit was an illusion. They encouraged you, modeled for you, held you up, and taught you how to believe you could overcome your limit. Believing was half the battle. Parents know their children can ride a bike. But they have to get us to believe in ourselves before it will be true.

Writing down what you want to happen, what you believe will happen, is a substitute for your parents running alongside you, holding onto the bicycle seat. Something in your mind is telling you that you have a grown-up, current-day limitation. By writing down the opposite, you are teaching yourself that your limitation is an illusion.

Overcoming our limit-illusions by writing down what we believe will happen also works on a biological level. We have a built-in fight-or-flight mechanism. We hardly ever have to fight or flee anymore, but our primitive brain doesn’t know that. So it is always filtering all the stimuli we experience in a given moment into life-threateningly-important and not-such-a-big-deal. Remember the last time you heard a siren while you were driving? Your high-alert status kicked in and pretty much shut down all other higher brain functions until the threat passed.

Alert yourself to the right information

By writing down what you believe will happen, you are placing a small siren on that part of your thinking process. Your primitive brain begins to move your written goal higher up on the priority list. Then you become more and more alert to everything in your life that is or might be connected to that thought. Your brain begins to filter in favor of data that support your goal and filters against data that negate your goal. For example, when I was a kid, my mom bought a red Volkswagen Beetle. I don’t remember ever having seen a Beetle before she brought hers home. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed like the roads were clogged with Beetles—especially red ones. Of course, there had been no dramatic uptick in the number of Beetle owners in my city. My Beetle filter had simply changed.

See also these related articles:

  1. What are your limits?
  2. Lesson from a VW Beetle: Turn your limits into opportunities
  3. A 5-step, dreams-to-reality process for RCIA teams
  4. Teach catechumens to dream big—by example
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