As athletes, we all want to continue to improve. We want to be stronger, faster...better. But as humans we often end up holding ourselves back from what we truly could become.
We have seen amazing leaps in human performance over the past century and in this Ted talk David Epstein reveals how much of that progress is a result of better technology. High tech bicycles, better conditioned running tracks, turbulence-reducing swimming pools have added greatly to the advancement of sports performance. As has the specialization of athletes based on body types.
But one the most interesting advancements, and the one with the biggest potential to make us better is the advancement in mindset. We now have a greater appreciation of what a human being can do. Epstein likens it to a person that has received an electrical shock and all of his muscles fire at once, throwing him across the room:
That's the power that's contained in the human body. But normally we can't access nearly all of it. Our brain acts as a limiter, preventing us from accessing all of our physical resources, because we might hurt ourselves, tearing tendons or ligaments. But the more we learn about how that limiter functions, the more we learn how we can push it back just a bit, in some cases by convincing the brain that the body won't be in mortal danger by pushing harder.
We need to know our limits but we also need to differentiate between true physical limitations and the limitations based on emotion and false beliefs that we place on ourselves. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself before, during and after a workout. Decide to tell yourself that there are no limits. This will take some practice. We have allowed our limitations to take root deeply in our psyche. But, if you are consistent in resisting those limits, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.