Do You Impose Your Own Limits?

I’m asking if you impose your own limits, because I've noticed something in my own life.

Things I unconsciously assume I can't do or goals I think I can't reach are really limits I've placed on myself.

I'll explain more about this in a minute.

What brought this "impose your own limits" topic to mind was an email I received recently.

It was from a local person asking that I take them off my email list.

Usually when someone wants to unsubscribe, they just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of my email, and it all happens automatically.

This person wrote me a long and passionate email detailing why she felt that she didn't need the information I have to offer,

She didn't care whether her work sold or not, and she felt she and I were going in different directions.


Her email reminded me of one of the reasons I started

When I left the illustration field to focus on fine art, I joined a couple local art organizations.

After being a member of one in particular for some years, I couldn't help noticing that there were members who never seemed to get any better at their art.

Some of them had been doing art for many years and seemed content to never improve.

It astounded me.

Breaking the Impose Your Own Limits Syndrome

I agree with personal growth guru T. Harv Ecker who compared humans with plants when he said, "If you're not growing, you're dying."
I started to offer my diverse experience in art to those people who do want to grow but maybe haven't found the kind of instruction that will motivate and inspire them.

I firmly believe that you have much more creativity, imagination and artistic potential than you give yourself credit for.

But I also believe that providing inspiration and motivation isn't always enough.

Many of us, maybe even most of us, subconsciously impose our own   limits.

Author Gay Hendricks calls this "The Upper Limit Problem" in his book, The Big Leap.

As an executive coach he found even some successful people will sometimes sabotage themselves, their business or their relationships when things get too good.

We develop limiting beliefs that prevent us from accomplishing all that we could.

I've found this has been true in my own life.

My Own Upper Limit Problem

Over the last ten years, my wife and I have found limiting beliefs we have been carrying around for most of our lives.

And we've taken steps to get rid of them.

As one small example of what I'm talking about is a story I've mentioned before.

When I still lived in the Seattle area, Sunday mornings I would join a 3-hour figure drawing session at the University of Washington.

I'd been doing this enjoyably for some years, but by that fall I was beginning to feel stale.

I'd lost my enthusiasm.

After some thought I realized that I was unconsciously assuming that I could only complete a simple drawing in the twenty-five minutes of each pose. It was another example of how you can unconsciously impose your own limits.

I also realized that I needed to break out of that mindset and take more chances.

I needed to strive for a small complete painting of every pose.

When I drew with that mindset, I was surprised at how much I could accomplish in that same time period.

I started completing small pastel paintings of most poses and quite a few of them were keepers.

As a result, those twenty-five minutes gradually seem longer and longer.

What I accomplished in that time got better and better. And other people in the group took more and more notice of what I produced.

All because I finally recognized my own limiting belief and broke through it.

Best Wishes,
Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)

P.S. So my questions for you are these:

1. Where do you impose your own limits on yourself?

2. How good could you be in art or life if there were no limits on what you could accomplish?

HINT: You really have no limits except those you impose yourself.

So much of art and life is developing the self-confidence to believe in yourself.

P.P.S. Have a friend who would enjoy this article? Send it to them and invite them to join my blog. Click here to Subscribe.

Copyright Gary Gumble 2023 All rights reserved      About      Privacy Policy     Terms of Use     Contact    27 rue Roucher, 34000 Montpellier, France