Updated: Nov 20, 2021
"My preconceived limits were totally off base. That we are capable of so much more than we could ever really imagine" Tommy Caldwell. What an inspiration. "The Dawn Wall", a fantastic documentary on Netflix. If you haven't seen it, I definitely recommend it... a very unique story of a true athlete that grows exponentially with every life challenge that he is up against.
Personally I think Tommy Caldwell is proof of concept - mind over matter. With laser focus, consistency, belief and a whole ton of determination and discipline you can accomplish what your heart desires.
The limits that we put on ourselves, what are they based on?
Why do we think we can, or cannot achieve something?
There are unlimited reasons for this, however there is one common denominator; our BRAIN. Our brain is an incredible organ, its ability to process multidimensional information and react at lightening speeds is beyond my understanding. However, taking in and putting out at this speed, means assuming and not always using real time facts. The brain is constantly calculating safety versus danger, making predictions based on previous experiences, knowledge and theories.
Without going too deep into the science that I am just beginning to understand, I just want to say this: the brain has a negative bias. Negative events have more of an impact than positive events and this goes back to reasons of survival. The smell of roses are nice, but noticing that tiger hiding in the trees nearby is far more critical to our safety. Our brain emphasizes the fear of the tiger over the fresh scented roses. This negative bias is a form of protection. In my opinion, limiting ourselves or thoughts of self doubt, are biological tendencies that fall into this protective category, always erring on the side of caution. These feelings and thoughts show up, whether we like it or not, however it does not mean we need to act on them. If we can pause and question these notions, realize that maybe this isn't a life or death situation, we may notice that these thoughts aren't actually protective at all, in fact, they prevent us from living. In today's world, most of us aren't living in caves, we aren't running from predator's, therefore it is necessary to question this negative, limiting, protective, belief system.
Identifying this negative self talk is the first step in setting the foundation for our personal growth. If we can question these assumptions made by the brain, then we are in the position to choose. We can choose to listen, or we can choose to ignore.
Tommy Caldwell is on another level, he has proven multiple times that what we think we can do is not very accurate. Our immediate thoughts are not a valid representation of what is possible. We all have the power to investigate our biological negative biases and go from there.