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How do you know when you reached your potential?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by LV426, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    Here's a question I've been pondering lately. Whatever activity you pursue, which involves improvement in some way, is there a point when you say "I can do no better"?

    I've often heard it said that you never really stop learning/improving, particularly when this applies to playing a musical instrument.

    It's true that as you progress in anything, then there comes a point where further improvements becoming difficult to achieve. But you could argue that if you reach a plateau, then doing something different may yield improvements.

    Take running: Even if I trained my backside off, I couldn't achieve what Mo Farah does. I simply don't have the genetics. I have an upper potential, but how do I know when I've reached that? I'd like to think I can still improve, and you should always think positive, but at what point do you say, I'm as good as I can be?
     

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  2. Member243850

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    That's a very good question.

    Some days I just sit there and try my hardest not to cry my eye balls out at this pathetic world and how abusive and insane it is. I try hard not to hate mankind and try hard to not become the next Hitler in my extreme hatred and disgust of mankind.

    I hear what you are saying. Sometimes I feel that there is no such thing as a limit. Other days I am trying hard not shoot somebody in the face because they looked at me funny and don't even have the decency to say sorry for what they hae done to me some people...

    So limits... and potential... is there such a thing as a limit or is it all just a bunch of lies and everything is unlimited with zero boundaries? well yes and no...

    I dunno sometimes ... as I am getting older and dealing with more and more people... I start to see why I (and many others) love machines more than I do mankind...

    Mankind is very flawed and very ugly.

    Very very very ugly. Mankind can be very ugly...

    Whatever a man can do (that is simple and extremely repetitive) a machine (most of the time depending on the task at hand) can do better...

    Sorry I am having a really shit day and most probably shouldn't have written this borderline hate speech... but limits... very interesting question... very very very interesting question that...

    Humans make all sorts of interesting ideas and inventions that machines (more than likely) will never have that kind of creativity... and innovation ever... well not at least for the foreseeable future...

    I think there are limits in all sorts of areas.... not just running / speed... there are creativity limits... physical limits... emotional limits...

    "Trying hard not to kill everybody limits"

    There are many different kinds of thresholds and pressure tipping points many people have....

    Remember this.....

    "All animals are equal... but some animals... are more equal than others..."
     
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  3. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    Thanks Stinky. Just to pick up on one of your points there, about creativity. If anything that is one of the few things that is absolutely without limits isn't it? I mean humans for all our flaws have the ultimate creative capacity, it's what keeps the species moving forward, albeit in a stumbling kind of way. Creativity is driven by the mind, and there are some wonderful minds in this world. And who knows when the next genius is going to be born.
     
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  4. shalemail

    shalemail Android Expert
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    Well it is quite a question you've pondered.

    Using your analogy, running, you are in some ways limited by a lot of factors as to how far you can go to improve the measurable parts of it i.e. speed, acceleration, etc. by things like genetics, age, health. However I think again staying with that analogy that you could still improve endurance and distance almost forever. Additionally, the mental side of it, how you look at your run, what you get out if it, how you apply your training to other aspects of your life is at least nearly boundless.

    I think it's human nature to hit plateaus but I think the best of us, once that plateau is reached don't except it as a limitation, more so as just a greater challenge that must be met and overcome. Once we except our limits, they define us and our existence. When you look a limit in the eyes and say .... bring it, that's when we really see who we are and what we can achieve.

    Jack Dempsey once said, "A champion is someone who gets up when he can't" I think that sums it up pretty well.

    Once you accept a limitation, you have given up your right to fight that limitation.
     
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  5. dan330

    dan330 Android Expert
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    some are more creative that others....


    I think .. when an individual person's
    hope and desire = fear and doubt..
    that is when they reach their limit. so.. you set your own limits.
     
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  6. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    @shalemail It's true what you say that our mental view of things sometimes *is* the limitation, and there's a lot to be said for having a positive outlook, and a mindset for improvement.

    But having said that, with running there are real physical characteristics that limit an athlete's performance. So you can't say that improvements are boundless, because they are bound by a person's natural physical (genetic) limits. I've had some quite heated debates with other runners about this. People have laughed at me when I suggest this 'genetic limitation'. But usually, the people who advocate the 'no limits' point of view are the ones who are naturally very quick. They assume that any runner can achieve what they do. I say this is simply not the case.
    And believe me, I'm not lazy, or lack motivation. I train a lot, most weeks doing 5 or 6 runs, although not ultra massive mileage. But I don't make any significant improvements. And I don't believe that doing 60+ miles per week would drastically improve my performance, even if I did have the time.
    Am I negative? I prefer to call it realistic. I would love to be on the performance level of an elite athlete, but it's not going to happen is it?
     
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  7. Member243850

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    Yes and no - very good points from everybody :)

    I think there are just certain people that have unique and very special talents / gifts that very few or other (none?) have... not everyone is a Nikola Tesla... not everyone is a Hitler... ;)

    Some people are extremely stinky when compared to others... while some people smell very good.

    Some people may have extremely unique talents and / or gifts but it does not mean they are very useful hey... just saying...
     
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  8. shalemail

    shalemail Android Expert
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    @LV426 I dig it, and I agreed with that part of your stance. However, where you may be limited in speed, quickness, dexterity ... you are not limited (other than in your own mind) to increase your stamina, your distance, your conditioning. I think the human mind and body are boundless, if you look at it the right way. No we can't stop a speeding bullet, no we can't leap tall buildings in a single bound, no we are not faster than a locomotive, but we can always improve what we do today by trying just a bit harder tomorrow.
    ;)
    Just my humble opinion.
     
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  9. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    Ok, good to know that 12 minute 5k is still on for me then, I'll keep trying ;)
     
  10. Member243850

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    SO true!!!

    With Henry Ford's famous famous brilliant quote he said:

    "If you think you can't - you're right - if you think you can you're right!"

    If we as human beings stop believing - all is lost!

    The moment you start to think it won't happen - it won't.

    We are sych powerful creations that we don't even know our own strength kind of thing - this is what I love about the Yankies and their "YES WE CAN DO IT!!!" kind of attitude - it's awesome!

    Yes there might be difficulties and hurdles to overcome but if your attitude is right then you are going to definitely do a heck of a lot better than not having the right frame of mind or attitude.

    In fact sometimes I slightly disagree with shalemail slightly when you say we can't do super human things - WE ACTUALLY CAN!

    Have you ever heard of "Mas Oyama?

    He used to kill BULLS with nothing but his BARE HANDS.... a martial artist LEGEND...

    Yes I agree we can't jump over buildings but if we push ourselves slightly more and more every day we CAN do amazing things that we once believed not to be possible before!



    Also there have been REAL reports of "normal" human beings crunching frying pans and ripping and turning as if it was paper!



    Sometimes we STRUGGLE to explain A LOT of things...

    Like the plcebo effect... we are capable of so much... so much power ...
     
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  11. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    Yes of course we can push ourselves. Within limits though. My point is, everyone has their limits (potential).

    Take another example - the game of snooker, which I love playing. But despite all my enthusiasm, and given an unlimited amount of time to practice, I still can't achieve the skill levels of the top players. My performance is bounded by my natural skill level, which is pure judgement of shot direction, strength. Brute force practice can only get you so far. There is an element of natural talent involved. This varies from person to person.

    In the case of running, the upper bound on your performance level is determined largely by your physical characteristics - like the number of mitochondria in cells (energy converters) in your muscles, amongst a load of other things. Elite runners are born with significantly more mitochondria than average people. No amount of training on my part can drastically improve that situation. Therefore my absolute top level of performance has an upper bound, which I can't change. I can reach my full potential, sure. But at some point there will be no more gains.
     
    #11 LV426, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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  12. Bg260

    Bg260  
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    I believe that we are limited. Limited by our own perception of the universe. I have been pondering this. The theory of the big bang is based on the universe bursting forth uniformally in all directions from a central point. From Earth the dispersion of Galaxies is equal in all directions. Does this not make us the center of the Universe? No. It is our perception. We see in all directions to the limit of our abilities, thus making us the center. I wise man once said finding the center of the Universe is simple, it lies at the tip of one's nose.

    Sorry for the ramble. Seemed poignant.
     
  13. The_Chief

    The_Chief Accept no imitations!
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    I'm of the opinion that, as long as we're breathing, we NEVER reach our true potential.

    There is always something new to learn. New skills to acquire. New people to meet. I strive to learn something new about SOMETHING every single day and encourage you to do the same. Until we cross that ultimate finish line, we can do something to improve ourselves: maybe some people can learn and do more, faster... but we all have an inherent and nearly limitless potential to improve ourselves. And the more we learn and do, the more our capacity to learn and do increases and our horizons expand.
     
    #13 The_Chief, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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