When is the last time you have heard the words “You have 0% chance of [insert the descriptive words for what you won’t be able to do]!”? Someone used those words on me just the other day.
When someone uses the words “0% chance”, what are they saying?
- They could be imposing their low expectations on you.
- They could be putting you down to simply build themselves up.
- They could be assessing your potential based on scientific research.
- They could be predicting future performance based on past behavior.
- They could be giving you a reality check you desperately need.
- They could be making a prediction based on their experience with a similar situation.
Are these prognosticators right?
- Sometimes but not always
The prognosticator in my life was my physiotherapist. He shared his opinion about an activity that has been a key part of my life in the past but according to him, won’t be part of my future.
We were discussing running and he said “You have a 0% chance of running again. You should be able to walk fast, but running is out.”
When he said it, I was surprised by how little those words impacted me. I had heard these words before over a year and a half ago. I walked away from that physiotherapist angry, vowing to prove her wrong.
What is different this time? Do I believe I will never run again? No. But I do realize things are going to be different going forward. After all, I have titanium in my right leg from hip to ankle bone, a six inch plate part way up my femur and 13 screws holding it all together. Running could be a challenge!
What these “0% chance” words mean to me this time is I have to come to terms with my new limitations and learn to adjust to my new normal.
Five Lessons on Adjusting to Limitations
1. To know you have limits is the beginning of wisdom.
If you are living in some la la land as far as your limits go and honestly think you can keep doing what you’ve done when your situation has changed, get ready for a fall. Stuff happens. People change. The body breaks down. It’s part of being human.
Men must know their limitations (Clint Eastwood).
2. Having limits to overcome makes life exciting!
There is part of me that loves the challenge of seeing what I can do (eventually) on my newly repaired (1 ½ inch shorter) leg. Listen to these great words from Helen Keller:
The marvellous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.
3. With the right attitude, you can learn to adjust to a new normal.
What freaked me out and sent me into a depression at the beginning of this injury and recovery journey doesn’t phase me now. I think in the future, the same will be true about my new normal. I’ll adjust and learn to live with it but still miss my old life once in a while.
I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers (Helen Keller).
4. It pays a higher return to focus on what’s left not what’s lost.
In the game of life, we all receive a set of variables and limitations in the field of play. We can either focus on the lack thereof or empower ourselves to create better realities with the pieces we play the game with (T.F. Hodge).
5. Finding new ways to stay physically fit will be an adventure.
I’m looking forward to the discoveries I will make as I try new ways to stay active in the future. I’ve already talked to my neighbour who is a serious mountain biker and am planning on adding that sport to my routine (and my prognosticator says I have a 100% chance of doing that!)
Stopping at limits are for those who lack a well-harnessed imagination (Brandon A. Trean).
When have you heard the words “0% chance” and how did it affect you?What limitations do you need to come to grips with?
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