There’s a bar. A bar that you live beneath. You never dream greater than the bar. You never aim higher than the bar. It’s an imaginary ceiling which you sub-consciously pledge never to break through.
When we live way below the bar, our lives have a lot of activity but no progress. Our lives become filled with things but remain empty of everything we truly need the most – Happiness, peace, fulfilment, growth, calm, focus, meaning.
I know. For a long time, I kept my distance from the bar. If ever I got too near, I made sure I did everything I could to get as far away from it as possible.
Public speaking? I ran from it. Writing something and allowing someone else to read it? Never in a million years would I allow it. Doing something new? Not for me. Challenges? Maybe some other time.
See, the bar is everything that challenges us to explore the limits of our human potential. It drives us to unearth, refine, polish and exhaust our talents.
So I lived like that for a while.
Eventually, I realised that when it comes to the bar, there are 2 paths in life:
- I can willingly approach and even break through the bar by doing the things I’ve been afraid of. It’s uncomfortable and not glamorous at all but those are the only moments in my life where I’ve made memorable progress.
- My circumstances in life will push me towards the bar and then I’ll be forced to do what I could have willingly done in the first place.
Sometimes, having an employer who treats you terribly or getting fired from your job is what’s pushing you to the bar. At other times, it’s a failing business or relationship. Or the loss of a loved one.
Here’s a secret: When something happens to you that completely obliterates you internally and gives you a feeling of soul-crushing pain permeating every fibre of your being, you’re being reminded to drop everything else and raise the bar.
When this happens, set higher standards for yourself. Attempt more challenging tasks. Don’t expect pity or sympathy from those around you. You are a warrior on your way to break the ceiling beneath which you’ve been living. You’ve been selling yourself short and now’s the time to set the record straight.
All progress happens when the bar is raised.