If you are reading this quote from Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull for the first time, it might take you a while to understand what it means. It attempts at explaining how most of our limitations, physical or mental, are self-imposed. Our mental barriers stop us from growing outside these mental chains we have set on ourselves. As we keep feeding in negative thoughts about our limitations to our subconscious minds, the more hardwired our brain becomes and breaking out of the shackles becomes even tougher.

Have you seen videos of babies swimming? It is said that babies know how to swim. They unlearn this by acquiring fear from their environment and setting new limitations on themselves as they grow. You can do a few things to embark on a journey to free yourself from these limitations you have set for yourself.

Shortcomings imposed upon us

Now that you are aware that every person has some weakness or the other, the next step would be to understand what these weaknesses are. Some of the common weaknesses would be physical and mental weaknesses which are inherent in each one of us and certain things  which are very difficult to let go.  Then there are some shortcomings which are imposed upon us by people in our social circle like our parents, friends as well as the society at large. While some weaknesses can be overcome or thwarted, there are some which cannot be remedied. Hence, awareness of your shortcomings is the first step towards conquering them.

Justify these shortcomings

Once you become fully aware of your weaknesses, make a list of all of them. But make sure of one thing. Do not write any such weakness which you haven’t even tried attempting to conquer. When you attempt something and learn from such an experience then you cannot be regarded as a failure. After all, ‘failure is the stepping stone to success’. Only when you are sure that some limitations are of such a nature that it is almost impossible for you to overcome, write them along with your personal justification as to why you cannot achieve that. But be sure that the justification is from your own mind and not something that has been told to you by someone. These justifications will be known as ‘motivated reasoning’.

Questioning every single weakness

The purpose of indulging in such an exercise is not to pin you down on what you cannot do, but when you undertake this exercise, sub consciously you will start questioning every single weakness, no matter how big or small they may be and think for yourself as to why you are unable to overcome them. The answer which you will get will not be the answer your parents or your friends would have told you but they will be your own. Thus, in our journey of accomplishing and achieving our life goals, questioning our hidden capabilities will be the point of inception from where it will all start. But at the end we would have the satisfaction of knowing that all those weaknesses which we listed out are ‘our own’ and not imposed upon us by anyone.

Weaknesses which make us unique

No human is perfect. Every human being comes into this world with his or her specific set of weaknesses and limitations. But instead of thinking negatively about these limitations and weaknesses, just think about it in this way. It is our innate set of strengths and weaknesses which make us different from the rest and unique in our own right.

Can you imagine a hypothetical world where individuals had no limitations and could possibly do whatever they wanted to do? For a minute, you may love the idea. But in the long run, it may not be feasible because in such a scenario the USP of every individual will get lost. The point is to not to just know your weaknesses and then sit idle doing nothing. The point is to identify them and what best you can do in order to capitalize on them.