Monday Motivation 1/30

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Let’s talk about limits.

I was talking to my team recently while we were writing one of these newsletters. They wrote something about finding where your limit is, and it really bothered me. Once I explained why, they said I had to share my thoughts.

I absolutely disagree with the idea that you can ever find your limits. You can find your current limit, but you will never find your actual limit. I always tell you guys that most of my lessons come from the gym, and this is no exception, so let me explain with a training story.

When you start lifting weights, the bar might be your limit. But you haven’t found your limit because the next month your limit might be the bar with two, 10-pound plates. You still haven’t found your limit, and I think you can lift forever and never find it. I failed to bench press 500 pounds many times, but that didn’t mean my limit was 495. And I proved that when I finally benched 500 pounds.

For a long time, there was a “limit” on the Olympic lift, the clean and jerk. For decades, nobody ever lifted 500. But then, one of my heroes, Vasily Alekseyev did it. And you know what happened? Six other lifters did it that year. There was no limit. You’ve probably heard the same story about Roger Bannister, the medical student who ran the first four minute mile, which was long considered the limit of human speed. Once he did it, it became common. Someone just had to go out there and prove the limit was fake, and then the old limit became the new normal.

Limits are completely made up and all in our heads (please obey legal limits and don’t take this email out and show a cop that Schnitzel told you limits are fake, though).

You might think your limit right now is deadlifting 300 pounds, or speaking one language, or doing 5 push-ups, or running a mile in 10 minutes, or reading one book a month. Whatever you think your “limit” is, get that idea out of your head.

The joy of life is seeing how much more we are capable of, and battling so that who we are tomorrow is better than who we are today. Live your life with the curiosity to see what your body and mind can really do, and the knowledge that you’ll never really know. If you do this, I promise you’ll feel more fulfilled.

The goal of last month’s challenge was showing you that consistent routines beat limits every time. I was consistently raising my bench press. Alekseyev was consistently raising his clean and jerk. Bannister was consistently lowering his mile time. What’s to stop you from consistently reading more, doing more push-ups, or learning more words in a new language. Not a limit, that’s for sure.

If you think I sound crazy, just try this: do as many push-ups as you can. Tell me how many you do. If you believe in limits, that’s yours. But then I want you to do it again in a week and tell me the number again. I have a feeling you’ll be saying, “Dang it, that Schnitzel knows what he’s talking about.”

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Former Mr. Olympia, Conan, Terminator, and Governor of California. I killed the Predator. I told you I'd be back.