Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.Richard Bach

"I’m a seagull. I like to fly..."

What does that mean?
Put another way, if you argue for your limitations, who will argue against you and against your limitations? Unless you have a full-time side-kick, probably nobody. So whatever you say you can’t do, you won’t likely ever try, as you are already defeated in your mind.

That means if you argue for your limitations (the things you cannot do), you will be stuck with them. Contained within this quote is the opposite, if you argue for your abilities, sure enough they will be yours. Does that make sense? Just realize that simply saying something that is untrue will not make it so.

Why are limitations important?  
If you had no limitations, where could you go, what could you do, who could you become? That’s an interesting exercise, but not very practical. We all have limits. Some are imposed on us by society, parents and friends. Others are physical or mental in nature. Some can be circumvented, compensated or accomplished by other means.

The important part of this quote isn’t to recognise that limits exist, but that you know what yours are, and to not sell yourself short. Don’t say you can’t if you can. Properly state that you don’t want to do it, but don’t argue against your abilities (another way to say “to argue for your limitations”). If you say it often enough, you just might begin to believe your lies, and that would be quite a waste of your talents.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Have you ever heard this old expression : “the one with the most rules will loose.”? How many rules do you have for success? Most of the people I know need almost everything to go right to declare an event to be a success.

Similarly, most of the people I know have very few rules for failure. Given the phrase (mentioned above) and the common rules I described for success and for failure, which of them do you think happens more often?

Are you setting yourself up for failure, or for success? I would argue that unless you look at your definition of success and of failure, you are probably pre-disposed to failure. Re-write your rules. That’s what I did.

Nothing is a failure if I learn something from the experience. How would that change in the rules change your success rate? It is something I recommend you spend some time thinking about.

What can’t you do? Write a few things down and consider how far outside your grasp each one is. Can you fly? Well, while a pilot’s license and an airplane are big investments of time and money, have you considered hang-gliding or para-sailing?

You can deliberately choose something very difficult, like going to the moon, but then you won’t get much out of the exercise. The only one who will lose anything is you, so please consider with some care what you wish to try to do.

For each item on the list, write down all the ‘reasons’ why you think you cannot do it. If flying is the example, you might list getting a pilot’s license is too expensive and takes too long. You might also put down that your arms get tired too easily.

Now that you’re done with the negativity, find a way to overcome each of the excuses (you know they aren’t reasons, right?) you just wrote down. As I mentioned above, there are other ways to fly that does not involve a full FAA pilot’s course.

Everything from hang gliders to small experimental planes can be flown with little experience (caution and training are still recommended, as a fall from any height can be painful, or even fatal). For your arms being tired, perhaps you could look into other ways to fly that doesn’t involve flapping your arms, such as para-gliding or para-sailing.

This is a simple exercise to help you escape your self-imposed box. There are no right or wrong answers. There are only challenges. Can you do it? What do you need to find out to be able to move forward? How much effort and determination will be required?

I’ve known people who had life-altering strokes fight back to near normalcy in just under a year. They fought like crazy, learned about their physiology and kept at it until they got where they wanted to be.

What limitations are you going to shed? What are you going to do to break out of your box? What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your new goals? What are you made of? Will you work it off, or sit on it? The choices and the results are up to you. Will you argue for or against your limitations?

From: Twitter, @QuoteHouse
confirmed at :
Photo by BoJay

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9 Responses to Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.

  1. notajerk 19 January 2014 at 2:36 am #

    Nice post!

    • philosiblog 19 January 2014 at 4:13 am #

      Thanks! Glad you liked the post.

  2. Mistral 13 June 2013 at 7:30 am #

    good morning, firs of all excuse my english for it is not my native language. I have been reflecting on this quote a lot in the past 10 something years and I would like to ad an dimension to your explanation. the simbolism of “limitations” are borders in all senses and directions from within and from out. weather it is a political, social or a personal character divide between us and it automatically cuts us from the knowledge and experience the oposite side possesses leaving us with a lesser chance of figuring it out. that brings us to the quote by jesus “an unspoken word is much more valuable than a spoken one”…stating that “arguing” in its root means seting up ones limitations. therefore talk less, observe and act more

    • philosiblog 14 June 2013 at 12:03 am #

      Thanks for commenting. That is another great way of expressing it. And don’t worry, your skills at English is certainly better than I am at any other language.

  3. Leandro 8 May 2013 at 3:41 am #

    Nice post! =)

    • philosiblog 8 May 2013 at 3:52 am #

      Thanks! Glad you liked it.

      The code on your page was intriguing. I liked the problem of the Knight (capture them all). I did something like that a number of years ago, but the specific challenge was a Knight’s Tour. I solved it by brute force, but extended it by finding all the unique combinations, as well as solving for different sized boards. It was a lot of fun.

      • tivrfoa 8 May 2013 at 1:30 pm #

        Capture Them All was a nice problem. It’s very rewarding when you finally find the solution. Were you a software developer? I decide to do these kinds of problems in order to become a better developer. If you wanna try some problems to have some fun, you can go here:

      • philosiblog 9 May 2013 at 6:06 am #

        Yep, been a coder since the mid-70’s. Started with a friend’s Trash-80 (TRS-80). It’s a lot of fun to exercise the brain cells. I still code for a living, and do the blog in my free time. Thanks for the link. Next time I have some free time, I’ll take a look at it.


  1. write - 22 October 2015

    […] I write. There are few excuses which cannot be overcome, unless you want them to remain. If you argue for your limitations, we cannot help you. You can have excuses, or you can have results. But you can’t have both. […]

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