“Am I the only one standing in my way? Am I my own merciless enemy?” ~ Jamey Jasta
Ever drive the go-karts at an amusement park? You know, the ones that accelerate sloooowly and have a top speed so low that you never need to brake. Press gas pedal as far as it will go and leave it there as you steer around the track. There’s never enough room to pass so you have to get really aggressive to get around that one kart that is even slower than yours. You work and work and work to wring every ounce of speed out of the kart and feel like you’ve finished the Indy 500 when you’re done. Or maybe it’s just me…
As industrial and heavy as those karts look, they actually have the potential to go faster. Quite a bit faster. The engines have a governor on them that restricts power and prevents you from approaching litigious speeds.
A friend once bought a new truck. It ran fine and he was plenty happy with it – no complaints. Then, one day, he discovered by accident that he had only been pushing on the bottom of the gas pedal. It would stop against the floor when there was still room for the rest of the pedal to move. Suddenly, his truck had more power than he knew what to do with. Just by moving his foot. There was no governor on it, but there might as well have been. The truck had a ton of potential power that he hadn’t known existed.
How often do we do this to ourselves? How often do we go along thinking life is ok, completely missing the potential awaiting? How often do we restrict ourselves and go through life with a governor on?
Think about all the times we’re unable to operate at our peak because we eat, drink, or smoke too much or get too little sleep or exercise. It’s like we’ve put a restrictor plate on our lives. The physical side is an easy target, but what about the mental? That’s where we really mute our lives.
How often do we:
not speak up because we’re shy, don’t want to take a chance, fear failing, or don’t think we can?
try to fade into the background and not be noticed at work?
worry about things that have only the slightest chance of happening?
wait “until the time is right” before starting something important?
decide that this is what is and just resign ourselves to every day being just like today?
sell ourselves short?
refuse to do anything unless we can do it perfectly, thereby doing nothing?
stay in a miserable job because the known evil is less scary than the unknown change?
lock our dreams in the basement of our minds because not trying sounds better than maybe failing?
tell ourselves (and anyone who will listen) all the reasons we can’t, instead of all the ways we might?
trade in our unique humanness for false security and imagined stability?
believe the lies we have told ourselves about ourselves?
The go-karts are mechanically restricted and we all have natural limitations, but those are small in comparison to the self-imposed limitations. We’re all really much more like my friend’s truck: we have a ton of potential that’s just waiting for us to realize it’s there.