Monday, July 27, 2009

Raising the bar on "limitations"...

I love how sometimes the simplest answers contain some of the deepest truths! In a recent travel documentary, a couple of guys are in a helicopter for the first time heading for a photo-op over the Rockies. The pilot lifts gently off the ground, gains a little altitude and then proceeds to fly slowly backwards. Curious, one of the passengers asks, "Why are we flying backwards?" The pilot answers, "Because we can." I love it!

Chris McDougall has written a riveting book, "Born to Run", in which the reader can vicariously experience ultra (ultra!) trail runs amidst awesome elevation-gaining landscapes! The true full-on gift of this book, however, is that he shares fascinating details and insights into the history and unique mind-view of Mexico's reclusive Tarahumara Indians - super-athletes whose health and peaceful demeaner have much to teach sophisticated urbanites. Imagine a people described as the "kindest, happiest...and also the toughest" folks on the planet!

Early in the book, McDougall hears the story of a 95-year-old who hikes twenty-five miles over the mountains in the deadly Copper Canyons. How could such an elderly man do such a thing?! The answer" "Because no one ever told him he couldn't." Wow...simple answer, deep truth. Do we, in fact, live up to our own expectations - which for whatever reason, may not be nearly high enough!

I pondered that. How true it is and how, so often, we allow others (or society in general) to put limitations on what we can do. How often I've thought, gee I'd better be careful running on these trails, after all I'm almost *-years old! Well, so what! It's probably true...we live up to our own expectations. If we think that maybe we'd better slow down and take life a little more cautiously because...well, that what folks tell us we should do? Are we simply putting limitations on ourselves that have no business being there? Since opening this marvellous book, I think so.

It seems like a good way to view life: no limits, or at least, way fewer limits. The alternative to "goin' for the gusto" is needlessly settling for less. We need to "raise the bar" on our own expectations of ourselves - we'll probably be quite pleasantly surprised!

So...might just as well go for it! Check this book out - it's an awesome read!



  1. Good thoughts but as I lay on the couch sweltering in this heat the thought of running or "raising the bar" seems like, well, just too much work.
    p.s. looks like you couldn't find the numbers for your age..they are in the top row of the keyboard!

  2. Thanks, L - I always appreciate your comments and, yes, I know where the numbers on the keyboard are! I just couldn't bring myself to type them in! I agree with you, "raising the bar" in these temperatures risks serious injury!