Put a flea in a jar with a glass lid and it will quickly learn its limits by jumping up against the glass ceiling. Remove the lid and the flea will not jump out of the jar although it has the ability to do so.
The flea has been conditioned to learn its limits, states Bryan Golden, in his new book, Dare To Live Without Limits.
Like the flea, we are conditioned to accept limits about our abilities. Parents, teachers, coaches, employers, spouses and peers all can impose artificial limits by expected less of us than we could deliver if they had expected more.
Learning to shed these artificial limits and live full, satisfying lives of limitless potential is the gist of Golden’s book. If you are a regular Press reader, you’re familiar with Golden’s positive messages. His column appears periodically in these pages. Golden’s book is more of the same. Nearly 50 short chapters addressing such topics as: how to change your life by changing your thinking, how to throw out your mental garbage, how to set and reach goals, how to live in the present, how to control your emotions, how to guard your time, how to manage stress and how to be grateful for what you have.
The book provides many ah-ah moments, useful bits of advice you either have not been exposed to, have forgotten or have failed to practice. Here are a few:
Ironically it takes more effort to endure a life of unrealized potential than to work toward success;
You can get everything you want in life by helping other people get what they want;
Say no to those people and activities that distract you from your objectives. Reserve your time for those actions that bring you closer to your goals. Use time, don’t waste it;
Many people constantly get tripped up in the small annoying aspects of life. Far more emotional energy is expended than is warranted. As a result, the enthusiasm for good and positive things diminishes;
Would you permit others to walk through your home taking anything they wanted? Absolutely not. But do you allow other people and activities to rob you of your time? If so you are squandering something more priceless than any of your possessions;
Many people don’t feel any urgency to start pushing toward goals today. Starting tomorrow appears to be just as satisfactory. As this procrastination develops into a behavioral habit, goals are put off so often they begin to fade and may never be pursued at all;
Be different. Do what others don’t. Be a little early. Stay a little late. Take initiative. Understand what needs to be done, and do it without being asked. Invest in yourself. Enhance your knowledge, skills and expertise;
What should you do if you are not treated properly? First of all, don’t respond in kind. If you do, you allow yourself to be drawn into the other person’s problem, which will have a negative impact on you;
Placing blame on external factors locks you into your current situation with no hope of escape.
My favorite Golden words are these, “Developing a sense of inspirational dissatisfaction helps you maximize your potential and stay alert to the multitude of opportunities available.” In other words, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. Change is inevitable. Be mentally prepared for it.
And I also like this statement about how to view a seemingly impossible task, “Each time you elude risk by evading the impossible, you lower the threshold for what you consider unattainable. Conversely, by accomplishing the “impossible,” you raise the bar for what you can achieve.”
If you’re looking for an easy road, Golden’s book’s not for you. While the chapters are short and easy to read and can be read out of sequence, on a lunch break or while you’re waiting for a train, implementing the words and changing your attitude will take discipline, concentration and patience. But, if you’re intent on changing your situation, this is a good guide book to the road to success.
If there’s a criticism about the book it’s that it’s filled with clichés you’ve heard elsewhere from other positive thinkers and change-masters. In fact, the sky-blue cover with a soaring shorebird reminds one of Jonathon Livingston Seagull. But, in his defense, Golden has been a change-master for more than 20 years. He is a management consultant based in New Jersey. He is also an adjunct professor, motivational speaker, author and columnist. Any road to successful living utilizes a good foundation and these clichés serve as that foundation.
Why is this important?
Because as Golden says, “You determine how much living you pack into a day.”