Limitation vs. Possibility

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than it is to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” ~ Teddy Roosevelt.

This quote was inscribed on a plaque on a wall of my father’s office and now it’s inscribed in me.

At the start of a new year it’s customary to take stock — in life, in luck, in love, in all things. Count our blessings. And assess what it is we want to accomplish in the year ahead. In the course of doing so, it struck me that we human beings dwell primarily in two domains — Limitation and Possibility.

These are the two forces competing for our attention, for our beliefs, for our destiny. We either believe in the limitations of our ability to execute, the limiting confines of established systems, the limiting beliefs of what we’ve been told is impossible or we invest in our vision, our wherewithal, our will to power, our certitude that if we can dream it, we can make it happen.

I’ve been reading about Steve Jobs and his reality distortion field. When in the tractor beam of his charisma and enthusiasm, the field of reality changed around you and you were completely convinced that whatever he said could happen could happen. Jobs dwelt in Possibility. He proselytized with it! His team often found itself accomplishing feats of engineering derring-do thought by others to be impossible simply because they didn’t know they couldn’t. Steve dreamed it and they lived Possibility.

The world around us encourages us to dwell in limitation: a faltering economy, changing audience tastes, diminishing attendance, shrinking budgets, sinking box office, a dearth of originality.

All of these Limitations are actually Possibilities when viewed from a different perspective — one that embraces these challenges as an opportunity to go outside your comfort zone, to imagine what could be instead of what is, to aspire to something more than you are and to rise beyond the limitations that have been established for us by others.

That’s why they call it the Establishment: they build the sandbox and allow us to play within its four walls. Most of the time, we’re even asking permission to play — like we need an invitation! I say, build your own sandbox. Better yet, think outside the (sand)box and go play on the beach!

Anything is possible if you believe it is. And the more resistance you get, the more naysayers you collect along the path, the more secure you can be in knowing you just might be on the right track.

Dare mighty things. Win glorious triumphs. Fail. But if you stop before your start, you’ve failed already.

Limitation vs. Possibility.

Can you or can’t you? You decide. Either way, you’re right.



  1. Great stuff Seth!! I love the idea that the more resistance you get the more you know you are on the right path. So true. Others want you to stay in the sandbox with them and they will say anything to drag you back where they think you belong. I’ve played in the sandbox long enough. This time, I’ll join you on the beach of possibilities!!

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! We can all live in the world of Possibility when we are ready to let go of fear.

    • Seth Jaret says:


      Seth Godin posits that fear isn’t fear of failure, it’s a fear of criticism.

      “We choose not to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism. Watch a few people get criticized for being innovative, and it’s pretty easy to convince yourself that the very same thing will happen to you if you’re not careful.”

      But Content Creators need to venture forth as if we have nothing to lose. Criticism comes with the territory. Criticism is really just other people’s fear projected onto you! Once you achieve success, their criticism morphs into imitation.

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