I was reading an article this morning about Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon, and it got me thinking about how important it is to test limits.
If you never test the limits, you’ll never know where your limits are.
Imagine what our world would be today if the Wright Brothers never tried to fly. Or Christopher Columbus (and all of those other explorers) never set out to find new lands beyond the edge of the world (cause you know, the world was flat back then). Or Kathrine Switzer never ran the Boston Marathon with race officials trying to physically remove her from the course.
Imagine if as a baby you never tried to crawl or walk or talk or venture out beyond the watchful eye of your mother. Testing limits is hardwired into us. It’s not until later that we’re taught not to test limits and sternly admonished to “know your limits”.
But in order to know your limits, you need to push a few “normal” limits. Or ignore what’s normal and do what feels right to you. If someone tells you that eating dairy is bad for you but you feel your best when you drink milk everyday, drink milk. Likewise if someone says that everyone needs to eat dairy everyday but you feel sick every time you do, don’t eat it.
This goes for the limits we set on ourselves too.
I could never run 5 miles.
I can’t write.
I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.
I couldn’t possibly travel alone.
I’m not outgoing enough to be a leader.