virgin islands scene

There lies more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.
-- Tennyson


Friday, October 27, 2023

Appreciating the limitations

When the possibilities are unlimited, when you can do anything, too often you do nothing. You become so overwhelmed with all the choices that it seems impossible to choose.

When some particular option is free and easy to access, it’s also easy to take for granted, no matter how valuable it may be. You can easily do it anytime, which means you can always do it later, and so you never end up doing it.

Limitations are difficult to live with, yet they do serve a positive purpose. They provide structure, and can force you to focus on what’s valuable, meaningful, and achievable.

If you have a one-week vacation planned, you’re likely to maximize the experience of every day. Contrast that to having six months off from work, when there’s a good chance you’ll be aimless and unfocused on many of those days.

Diamonds are expensive because they’re extremely difficult to find and to extract. In the same way, the options that are more difficult to exercise are the ones most likely to bring great value.

Rather than wishing for a life without limitations, find value in the structure and focus that limitations provide. By understanding and appreciating what you can’t do, you gain more meaningful rewards from what you can do.

— Ralph Marston

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