I’ve viewed this YouTube video numerous times! I find it both fascinating and funny. It’s fascinating because of just how much the human body can be pushed beyond what we originally thought was its limits. And it’s funny to see how much what was once considered excellent has now become sub-par according to today’s standards.
What a difference 80 years makes, right? I wonder what these athletes would think or say if they could see the gymnasts of last year’s 2016 Olympics. They’d likely be shocked and amazed.
Improve By Pushing the Limits Incrementally
The differences between the gymnastics techniques of 1936 and and the ones of 2016 obviously didn’t occur overnight. These were incremental changes that happened over time. They evolved from those coaches and athletes who had a desire to always push the limits and improve.
What’s the best way to improve? To insert new, slightly more difficult challenges into your ordinary routine on a regular basis over time. This requires a little creativity, along with the ability to think just a few inches outside the box.
The challenges don’t have to be huge. They can start off with something as simple as raising the bar just a tad bit higher. Once you’ve mastered that, then you can add a small but new twist to the routine.
Think about the thing you excel best in. Looking back, can you remember when you first started out in this particular skill? Do you now find it funny how your initial efforts that once seemed difficult now seem ridiculously easy? Do you find it fascinating how far you’ve come since then?
Also looking back, when was the last time you challenged your limits, either in your best skill or even with a new skill?
Do you have a desire to improve your best skills or to learn something new? What’s something creative you can do to challenge your limits?
For me, I want to do two things. One, I want to improve my paddle board speed. I can tell my speed has plateaued and I’m overdue to learn some new paddle stroke techniques to help increase my speed. It’s time to challenge myself again by simply taking a paddle clinic the next time it’s offered.
Two, I want to learn to speak a foreign language, something that’s very new for me. This new desire comes from the fascination I had while on my mission trip with my interpreter’s ability to easily switch from one language to another.
This will be a big challenge for me. But there are several creative yet simple ways I can try to accomplish this goal. I can download an app on my phone that provides short, daily vocabulary lessons. I could look into doing some type of immersion experience. Or I could take a language class through one of the many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by universities like Harvard or Duke (well, maybe not Duke, since this diehard Tar Heel fan has some limits and has to draw the line somewhere).
What About You?
I’d love to hear how you plan to challenge your own limits, or how you’ve recently done so and the results of your challenge. Please share in the comment box below!
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