Imagine standing on top of a lofty mountain crag with the feeling of being literally on top of the world. What a joyous sense of freedom! Yet your freedom is really quite limited. The law of gravity severely restricts your every move; a single misstep could spell disaster."
On the other hand, how gratifying to know that the very same law of gravity prevents you from helplessly drifting off into outer space.
So the law is obviously for your own good. Accepting the limits it places on your movement up there on that mountain peak is beneficial, even life saving!
Acknowledging limitations in other matters in everyday life, however, is not always easy.
In fact, one of the greatest problems that many people have is learning to recognize their own limitations.
Yet, unless a person does so, he cannot experience true satisfaction and happiness.
For instance, we need to realize that our demand for rest and sleep may differ considerably from that of others.
Some adults do well with six hours of sleep nightly, or less, while others need nine or more.
But, whatever requirements we have personally, it certainly is wise to get sufficient rest and sleep.
Otherwise, we may experience energy loss or become nervous and find even normal activity to be difficult and unpleasant.
Similarly, not everyone feels the best when eating all the things that others enjoy. The amount of food needed also differs with individuals.
So, in this and other ways, we act prudently if we learn our own needs and take care of ourselves, instead of doing things simply because others do them. Only then are we more likely to enjoy life.
As for personal abilities, there is much opportunity for development, and all of us can learn from others. Why?
Because the fact remains that not everyone excels in every endeavor. How does that fact of life affect you?
For example, someone you know may be an accomplished musician and you may not be. It is a great pleasure to hear him play, is it not?
But is there any reason to be discouraged if you are unable to match your friend’s skill in music?
We can enjoy and show gratitude for the work of an expert carpenter or stonemason, a fine seamstress or cook, or an accomplished musician, even if we are unable to do the same things that that one can accomplish.
How rich and satisfying life is when we properly esteem the fine qualities and abilities of other people!
The danger of not knowing your limits
Consider this illustration:
A safe driver knows the limits of his car and the road. He knows that other cars may be handled more easily on curves and in swerving to avoid obstacles at a greater speed than his. He also knows that the faster a car travels the less tolerance there is for error and the greater the risk of a crash."
Therefore, he refuses to try to match what other drivers and their cars can do—he knows his limits.
However, alcohol to a driver, can cause him to overestimate his limits, leading to an accident causing injury or, even worse, death.
Similarly, greed, can cause us to overestimate our limitations leading to mental, financial and emotional problems.
For example, the fact that one may be successful in business does not necessarily mean that another one will be.
Before getting involved in a business venture ask yourself: Is it really necessary? Does the sales pitch appeal to greed, or will it satisfy a real need?
Can I afford to lose all the money I am investing? If the business fails, will I deprive myself or my family of needed financial security? How risky is my investment?
If I will be the owner of or partner in the business, how much business experience and acumen do I have? Am I familiar with tax laws?
Have I researched the credentials and principles of the owners and the business? Is there a growing market for the business?
Will I be so indebted to the business that I will find it difficult to quit? If I become seriously ill, how will the business deal with it?
Of course, many other “do’s” and “don'ts” could be added to these lists.
But these points are sufficient to illustrate the basic principle of the importance of learning to live within your limits.
Surely such a course will result in the greatest contentment, satisfaction and happiness in life.