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Sandor Dargo
Sandor Dargo

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The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks

The Big Leap! Who doesn't want to take the big leap? I bet there are many. Stepping up always involve some risks and humans, in general, are more afraid of loss and therefore they are more risk-averse than thrill-seeking.

And there is more to that. Even if on the surface you're looking to make your bet and make the big leap towards success, your subconscious might think the opposite. Your subconscious mind will do whatever it can (and that's a lot!) to play your efforts down, to not let you achieve your full potential.

Have you ever caught in a fight with your spouse after a business success? Have you ever got sick immediately after a big personal win? Have you ever made some big mistakes at the most crucial moments? Mistakes that otherwise you'd never commit.

That's what the author Gay Hendricks calls the upper limit problem, the central idea of his book. Your upper limit problem prevents you from living up to your full potential.

The author brings many cases from his own life where he could identify this problem. I bet you can too. I could. Even before reading this book, I had some similar ideas.

Often in my life, I caught myself slowing down close to success. Or simply to abandon a project when it started to look more promising. Or maybe I just gave the lead to someone else.

Many celebrated that I left a promising political career around the age of 25. I did it because I couldn't focus on professional and political work and studies at the same time and I had to let one go. But to be fair it might have been an upper limit problem. I reached to some ranks where there were many doors opening up and where I would have had to step up. Instead, I quitted.

I think it was the better decision for my life, but deep inside, it might have been simply an upper limit problem.

How can you spot the upper limit problem in your life?

There are a couple of typical ways the author shared.

Worry is one such sign. When we worry, usually we are not thinking about anything useful. Especially when we worry about something we have no control over. This is a recurring idea in Stoicism as well. Don't care about things that you cannot change.

When things are going well for us, we start to worry about things going wrong in some way. We start justifying those thoughts with even more worrying ones and our upper limiting mechanism pushes us into a downward spiral.

Criticism and blame is another way. I'd also involve squabbling that the author mentions as a separate category. I put them together in this short post, as - unless we target a third party - criticism and blame very often ends up in arguments. When we criticize something, it usually doesn't have anything to do with the thing we are criticizing. We blame someone or something in order to redirect the flow of our positive energy and turn it into something negative. Have you ever started to criticize your partner seemingly coming from nowhere after some good results? Did it help?

Another way is deflection when you simply deny the positive achievements and you don't enjoy your success. You only look for the negative parts. Someone compliments what a great presentation you made and you immediately deflect it by complaining about your time management and leaving out the best stuff. Instead of saying thank you and smile.

The last one might be surprising, but you might even get sick or hurt simply because you are upper limiting yourself. Of course, not every sickness or accident is related to such self-limiting activities. The best way to consider this is to think about the times when it happened to you. Were those sicknesses and accidents coming right after a big win or during especially good times?

The author offers different solutions for the different problems for which I'd urge you to check the book. It's about 200 pages, you can read it in a couple of days even if you have lots of things to take care of.

Reaching to your full potential, live in your zone of genius

If you want to reach your full potential, you should ask yourself a couple of questions.

Where do I feel out of integrity with myself
What is keeping me from feeling complete and whole?
Why important feelings am I not letting into my awareness?
Where in my life am I not telling the full truth?
Where in my life have I not kept my promises?
In my relationship with ______, what do I need to say or do to feel complete and whole?

Asking such questions will help you to rise from a limiting story that you've been living in. Almost all of us can find a story deep inside, why we don't live up to our genius. Maybe it's fear, maybe it's not hurting other feelings, maybe it's our parents who kept repeating some thoughts that were not meant to be mean (maybe they were) but they shaped you in a wrong way. Maybe they kept repeating in front of others that you were a shy boy and you lived up to the expectations.

If we want an exceptional life, we have to find these limiting stories and commit ourselves to live outside those limitations.

Leading a great life, living in our Zone of Genius doesn't only mean that we have to remove thee stories, we also have to find what we love to do the most. We have to find the work that we love so much that it doesn't even seem to work even when we do it for long stretches. What can you do all day long without ever feeling tired or bored?

And we mean some kind of work here, not playing video games all the time without getting tired and bored.

Think about what do you do in your work that produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to the amount of time spent. Your answer to that question will be a good starting point to dig down borrowing ideas from the 5 whys technique.

In the book, there is an example of a lady, who said she enjoyed running meetings. When she was asked what does she like in it and what she is the best at it she said she can easily cut off discussions at the right time and move along. Then she was asked what gives her that unique ability. She said that she feels an energy shift in the room and inside her. Then she knows it's time to move on. Then she realized where this ability originates from. When she was a child, her parents often had fights. She always tried to stay out of the way and she quickly learned to recognize those energy changes in the room that signalled a coming sign.

By asking deeper questions, you can discover your unique ability, peeling of the different layers, like you open up Russian dolls.


Although The Big Leap is not a long book it touches many interesting ideas, some I couldn't even mention in this review, like how to fund an abundance of time in your life.

I shared with you the idea of the upper limit problem. It says that because of different limiting stories you have in your life, whenever you are in a positive flow for a longer time or you're winning big, you'll find ways to mess things up instead of living a happy and successful life.

In the book, he doesn't only speak about these problems but also suggests solutions. Both to remove the limiting stories and to find your unique ability that will help you to constantly live in your Zone of Genius.

I highly recommended read, thanks to Benjamin P Hardy for sharing his thoughts on it!

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Top comments (2)

ruben_ruvalcaba_f3bb0949f profile image
Ruben Ruvalcaba

Thank you so much, it's a great article and it just arrived on the perfect moment. Finding out those self limitng/destroying internal processes and behavior ae life changers. Sometimes just need to realize a little on your self to break paradigms been taken for granted for years.

I can't wait to read the book, it just reminded me the "Finish" book were the author speaks about perfectionism as that self limiting root of most problems that avoid us to achieve our goals.


sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Thanks for the nice words, I'm glad you found it helpful. And thanks for the recommendation, I'll check out that book.