Limits & Limitations


Most limits & limitations that we think are in place for our lives and our businesses are self-imposed.

Think about some of your all-time favorite pieces of music. (Bear with me if you’re not a music fan.) A few of my favorites are Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4, Death’s Symbolic, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Green River, and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

My little Macbook Air has more processing power than the studios that recorded & engineered every single one of those albums. And yet I’ve found myself saying, “Ugh, I can’t make good sounding music on this thing.”

It’s less about the equipment and more about the user.

If you’ve ever done technical customer service then you’re familiar with the term “user error.” This is when the equipment works just fine, but the user is to blame for any alleged technical difficulties.

The issues in our lives and businesses are nearly always the equivalent of user error.

I don’t make good sounding music on my Air because I haven’t mastered the equipment. It’s not because the equipment is lacking. (Sure you could argue an audio interface and a good mic will go a long way, and you’d be right, but let’s not go there for the purposes of this article.)

The Apollo Guidance Computer had 64 Kbytes of memory and ran at the turtle-like speed of 1.024 Mhz. If you have an iPhone or any other smartphone you’ve got a stronger/faster computer in your hand than what put a man on the moon.

If you haven’t put a man on the moon and you’re worrying about not having good enough equipment to accomplish whatever it is you’re after, then I have some important news for you. It’s you.

Stop setting limits and there are no limitations.


  1. Good observation Karol. We need more articles like this.

    While we are all struggling to adapt to the new economy we have to realize that we have a HUGE advantage with all our technology. If only we would view it as tools to produce and tools to consume as you showed with your Mac.

    Maybe we should go into our metaphorical garages or Man Caves and use these tools to create a new economy. All we need is another call to greatness reminiscent of putting a man on the moon.

    • Thanks Larry. I like the idea of the metaphorical garage to spurn a new economy.

      That said, I don’t think it’s necessary to completely innovate or invent to do that. You and I don’t need to “put a man on the moon” to be extraordinarily successful.

      Personally, I have much more fun tweaking things I know work to make them work even better. The launch of last year is an example. It’s not a new concept. I just brought it online and made it a win/win/win/win for everybody involved. So, again, I don’t know that complete innovation is necessary although I’m happy for the people who do it.

  2. Just an example:

    “I cannot exercise because I don’t have enough time”
    “I cannot exercise because I don’t know how”
    “I cannot exercise because I don’t have enough motivation”

    All of the above are artificial barriers. Scratching the surface and actually asking “How can I do this?”, will usually eliminate all of them. :)

    I love your ridiculously exraordinary posts Karol!

    • “How can I do this?” – I like that question. It’s similar to when somebody says “I can’t afford to do X.” X is usually long term travel, but it can be anything. I’ve always said the correct question to ask is, “How can I afford X?”

  3. Thanks for this reminder Karol. I was actually just looking over what I ‘needed’ to take things to the next level in 2012 – the list was overwhelming. After reading this I’m inspired to -not- be limited by what seems too expensive.

    • Thanks Deacon. What we need and what we think we need are usually completely different. I need to remind myself of that as much as anybody.

  4. Ohhh, love this topic! I definitely was guilty of this for a long time “I don’t have enough business skills to run my own business. I’m not good enough. I don’t know how to make a website. I don’t know how to get clients”

    blah blah blah

    My favorite way of getting around this is having massive brainstorming sessions. I love getting a few heads together and asking “What are all the ways that I can achieve X”. We go wild with ideas, and even though often they are ridiculous and totally out of the box, they often lead to a tangible option that is actually do-able!

    Thanks for the great post.

    • Thanks Rebecca. I love the idea of having “anything goes” brainstorming sessions. I can’t say I’ve done anything like that with others, but I have done something similar solo.

      We’re starting a common theme here in the comments. It’s about what questions we ask ourselves. “What are the ways I can achieve X?” is perfect.

  5. Thanks for the post!

    From the computers field and having phtography as a hobby I fully understand
    your point: nine of ten times my imagination and creativity are the biggest
    obstacles to make something great. What I need is to work and create more,
    not more GigaHerz or Mpix.

  6. Thank you. Again :)
    You’re right. It’s you. It’s me. Now let’s take one minute to process it not over think. And do something. Just do something. Chaos theory. One smallest thing you’ll do today might change your life forever down the line.
    So now i’m off the computer and i shall go and do something.

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