“The limit is not in the sky. The limit is the mind.” ~Unknown
I was having a conversation with a friend. She was telling me how maybe I should quit my writing and focus on something that wasn’t so challenging for me; that I should accept my limits and work within those boundaries. Her words made me cringe.
You see, I am dyslexic and I struggled greatly to write this story down. I am probably going to read it twenty times and will still have many mistakes that need editing.
My job is a daily struggle, and sometimes I break down and cry because it takes me double the time than it would take a non-dyslexic person. But here’s the thing, I’m not quitting, no matter how many times I cry, no matter how many times the editor sends my story back, or how bad I have it with dyslexia. I won’t quit.
I’ve seen a man with no legs and no arms swimming in the ocean, Albert Einstein was dyslexic, The Beatles were told their music sucked, and I was told I would probably fail in university.
Am I a story of success? That depends on what you think success is.
In a world limited by people’s opinions, I was fortunate enough to have parents who pushed me beyond what I thought were the limits imposed by my circumstances.
I was born with a heavy form of dyslexia that saw me fail over and over again math and Spanish (my native language). Teachers preached to my parents about how I would struggle greatly if I ever decided to go to university.
I felt like a failure, unable to cope within this non-dyslexic world. My parents, on the other hand, pushed me for greatness, but in my own mind I felt I couldn’t go very far. I let my own fear of failure keep me from going to university after high school finished.
For three years I searched for forms of making a living that didn’t involved math or Spanish. I became a waitress, a maid, a bartender, and a dog walker, until I realized I didn’t want to live my life with jobs that weren’t personally fulfilling and that left me no sense of satisfaction. I wanted to write. But how could I if I have dyslexia?
In spite of the great fear I had for my dyslexic mind, I enrolled myself into university. Ironically I chose a career path focused on writing. Journalism.
I pushed myself beyond what I thought were my own limits. I worked harder than my fellow classmates, and if it took them two hours to do an essay it would take me twelve. But I wasn’t fighting against them; I was fighting against my own self. Pushing and working beyond the pain, frustration, and desperation.
I spent countless sleepless nights trying to get each essay perfect and flawless, re-writing every sentence to make it correct and still I had flaws, mistakes, errors that made me feel like a failure.
It came as a surprise to me (but not to my parents) that I actually managed to graduate top of my class and got a freelance writing job in English! Which is not even my native language.
No, I’m not rich, I haven’t written a bestselling book, and I don’t make much money. But I can tell you this: I love my job, I love writing, I cry when I get sent back stuff, and I get very frustrated, but I keep going beyond my limits only to discover that it is limitless on the other side.
I keep improving with every mistake I make, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find amazing editors that value the creativity in my writing more than my mistakes.
Our bodies may have limits. We can only stand certain temperatures; we can only go a limited amount of time without air. But our minds forge their own limits. Those with limited mindsets will work within their limits and stay within the comfort zones that allow them to feel contentment with a sense of conformity.
But pushing our minds beyond their own limits can give us an indescribable sense of joy by showing us how limitless we truly are. We are what we think we are.
If you think you can’t run a marathon, you’ll never push yourself to start training; you’ll limit your body by your minds perception.
If you think you can’t start a new career in a creative field, you’ll overlook opportunities to strengthen your craft and potentially earn from it.
Doing what you want to do starts with believing it’s possible, no matter how difficult it may be. Achieving what it’s beyond our pre-conceived limits is what strengthens not only our bodies, but also our own minds.
Muhammad Ali didn’t become the greatest boxer of all time by believing it was easy, but by pushing beyond the pain and frustration, by forging a mind that saw him go beyond what he thought were his limitations.
I can whine and quit because I have a learning disability, or I can accept I have a disability and work around it, through it, and over it. For many years I saw my self as a failure for having something I never wished I had, but the moment I took responsibility for myself, my life, and my mind, I found the courage and determination to not let it define me.
Don’t let your mind define you. You are so much greater than what you think you are.
Happy free man image via Shutterstock