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Beyond the Plateau

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”John Wooden

Ask most personal trainers in the gym about the value of cardio and they’ll tell you it’s essential to good health.  Most will say that at least 30 minutes of exercise a day is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and prolonging your life.  Ask them what makes the cardio most effective and they’ll probably say something like, “that 15 minutes longer” than the 30 minutes a day you’re doing is where you really make a difference for yourself.

The push up after the last push up is the one that gets the results.  Just like that one more phone call the sales person makes after their day is done ends up being the one that gets them to their goals.  And just like that extra hour you spend with your kids this week will end up being the one that has the most impact on them and makes all of your lives more meaningful.

plateauI love the quote from John Wooden at the top of the page.  Because it’s so true.  The stuff that comes after you’ve “arrived” is truly what becomes most valuable.  It’s where we really learn.

Why is this?  Well, in my opinion it’s because that’s where the genuine growth is.  It’s where your comfort zone and boundaries get pushed and your true potential starts to expand.  Think about the muscles of the body and that 21st push up, when the goal was a solid 20.  That extra strain, that extra drive…that’s where the magic happens!

I used to joke that the brain muscle needs to be worked out just like the rest of our muscles.  Although the brain is not really a muscle, the truth is, it still needs to be used, and worked with, and challenged all the time.  You have an amazing capacity to dream and to achieve.  You can go as far as you’ll allow yourself to go in this life, as long as you’re willing to learn.  If you never push those limits and never challenge yourself to go beyond those places you’ve been before, you’ll never know how far you could have gone or what you could have accomplished.  And you will slowly start to fade.  Just like the muscles eventually begin to atrophy, when they are no longer used.

There’s a great quote attributed to Bruce Lee that comes to mind here.  He said, “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life.  There are no limits.  There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”.

All of us need to be open to learning, expanding our horizons, and growing beyond our plateaus.  Especially when we find ourselves in a place where we’ve mastered a technique or skill.

In life, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.  And although I’m not necessarily afraid of death, I have become addicted to the living part of life and would much rather focus on growing as a person than think about checking out as a corpse.  I’m sure you feel the same way.

There’s always so much to learn.  So whether you’re a salesperson, an athlete, an actor, a stay at home mom, a business owner, a writer, or anything else…you need to expand.  You need to learn.  You need to grow.

So go ahead, become a know it all…then push yourself beyond that place and go after all the stuff you really don’t know…yet.

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