What is the one thing that limits your personal success most?
This is a story originally told by Zig Ziglar – a leading sales trainer and motivational speaker. It is a good story – short, to the point and memorable. I won’t say any more – just take a moment to sit back and enjoy this particular gem.
“Fleas basically do two things… They jump and they ride dogs…
If you want to train a flea what you gotta do is put a flea in a jar, and if you put a flea in a jar, the flea will jump right out of the jar. So in order to train the flea, what you do is put a lid on the jar and you watch the flea jump and the flea will jump – clap – clap – clap – clap. You watch that flea jump and hit its head on the inside lid of the jar.
You come back 10 minutes later, the flea is still jumping clap – clap – clap – clap – clap – clap and he is still hitting his head on the inside lid of the jar.
You come back an hour later, the flea is still jumping – clap – clap – clap – clap – clap – clap and he is still hitting his head on the inside lid of the jar.
You come back an hour later, the flea is still jumping – clap – clap – clap – clap and he is still hitting his head on the inside lid of the jar.
About two hours later at some point, the itty bitty flea even with his itty bitty brain figures out that hitting the inside lid of the jar is not such a good idea and so the flea alters its jumping pattern. The flea still jumps nonstop but now it’s jumping about an inch from the inside lid of the jar. You’ve trained the flea at this point. You can virtually take the lid off the jar and watch the flea jump from now until doomsday and guess what? That flea is never jumping out of the jar.
Folks, that flea has all the power in the world to jump right out of that jar, but it can’t and it won’t and the reason why is because the flea doesn’t know the difference between a real limitation being the lid and a limitation it put on itself. Most people unfortunately are the same way. Most people don’t know the difference between a real limitation and a self-imposed limitation – and I’m here to tell you that there are no real limitations.
Oh sure, if you have no legs you got some limitations. Sure if you didn’t go to Harvard, you have some limitations. At the end of the day there really are no limitations except what you decide are limitations. There are no real limitations. There may be some challenges, there may be some things you have to overcome, but there are no real stops in your life. There are no real limitations in your life – it’s what you put on yourself”
I smile every time I read this story. It reminds me that what I achieve is up to me, that the biggest barrier I face is myself, and my biggest supporter is myself. It reminds me to wake up every day and choose to succeed and achieve. Share this story with your colleagues, your team, your friends and family – help them see and realize their own potential, and in doing that do it for yourself!
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