Adversity Can Either Test Your Limits or Break You

Adversity Can Either Test Your Limits or Break You
Fátima Servián Franco

Written and verified by the psychologist Fátima Servián Franco.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

The most difficult limits to break and overcome are the ones in your mind. Anthony Robbins, one of the most famous motivational speakers of our time (who has probably contributed the most to the field of personal change in the past 30 years) suggests that success is 80% psychology and 20% strategy.

The issue is that strategies can be studied and taught, but mental limits are hidden underneath one’s personality. But they don’t really exist – we create them. The only way to get past your limits is to understand how you created them in the first place.

The more mental limits you have, the worse your self-image will be. Limits distort self-esteem, which affects performance. Our actions are based on the way we perceive ourselves.

What would happen if you were the cheapest, quickest, slowest, most popular, simplest, most efficient, most hated, most intimidating, oldest, or newest? If there’s a limit, you have to test it.

Can adversity be an ally?

There are two options in the face of adversity – try to avoid it or confront it. Life would be boring without difficulty. Difficult situations make us who we are.

girl looking at water

Adversity pushes us out of our comfort zones and into much more enriching experiences, which allows us to grow, to discover our own strengths and resources that we weren’t previously aware of, and to use the walls in front of us as stepping stones.

When adversity calls upon you, remember these words from Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, “I’ve been a fortunate man in life. Nothing has come easily.”

“For a man to know himself, he must be tested; no one finds out what he can do except by trying. Great men rejoice in adversity.”


Live without limits

The only way to eliminate your mental limits is to challenge them. First, before testing yourself, you have to ask yourself whether what you thought was true actually is. That is, you have to look for real and conclusive evidence, not just the ideas you have in your mind.

Once you’ve questioned your limits, think of a time you were challenged, when it was, how you overcame it, and what made you try. If you’ve never done this before, ask yourself why and what you need to do it for the first time.

In order to challenge the limits you think you have, you have to ask yourself what would happen if you decided to break them. This simple question, along with the simple visualization of yourself breaking through your limits, will help you shake the fear that taking a step towards the unknown might cause. And above all, ask yourself what will happen if you don’t do anything. Sadly, we already know the answer to that question – if you don’t do anything, it’s likely that nothing will change.

girl twirling in dress

It’s important to be aware of what you can change in your mind. Simply using the world “yes” instead of “I can’t” is a small change that can have a hugely positive unconscious effect. It opens up the possibility of achieving something you didn’t think you could before. Remember, challenging your limits is the first step towards conquering them.

“People aren’t overcome by situations or outside forces. Defeat comes from within.”

-Banana Yoshimoto-

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.