How your mind defines and limits your life


I found myself listening to the audio book written by a man called David Goggins last night. If you haven’t heard of this fellow, have a wee look.

I can recommend this interview:

Why do I recommend it?

David Goggins has had a tough tough tough life. You think you have things tough? He had it tougher. His story is so insane I had trouble believing it. Yet it’s all true.

Eventually he pulled himself together and embarked on a fascinating journey in personal discovery. After a full-on military career, Goggins is now one of the world’s finest endurance athletes.

Now, David Goggins is an outlier: Someone who relishes the extremes of activity, and I mean the extremes.

Are these kinds of extremes necessary in your life?

No. Not if you don’t want them to be.

I think that’s the first important point. Distinguish for yourself what is necessary and what is a should. Take input from others, sure, but work out what works for you.

Know when you’re being lazy and slacking off and not doing those things that will take you where you said you wanted to go. But also know when you’re under pressure to do or be someone that you really don’t want to.


The second thing that I get from him and all his mad research into the limits of being a human is that when our minds tell us something about our capabilities, they have very little to do with the reality of what we could achieve.

“When you think you’re done, you’re only at 40% of your body’s capability.”

— David Goggins

He’s talking about athletic performance but the mind defines and limits many many things in our lives – actually, it defines and limits everything.

It slaps a label on this moment in time, and we believe the label.

But what lies beyond that label? What happens if you ignore that thought?

Want to investigate that with me?

OK – I assume you’re reading this on some sort of screen. What do you make of the following statement:

This is not a screen

Absurd huh?

Of course its a screen. The words “this is not a screen” doesn’t change the reality of the object. It’s obviously a screen.

And yet!

The thing you DON’T see is how you believe the mind’s label and not the reality in just about every single moment in your life. 

It defines everything! And you don’t see it.

If it says “I’m hungry” and you believe that … you become hungry. If you ignore it, there is no hunger. Not for a long time, at least.

So if you find yourself snacking too much, your job is to simply see the thought defining your reality. Ignore the thought, control the hunger.

Even more critical though is this kind of thinking that goes on in so many people’s heads:

“I can’t”, “I am not enough”, “I am broken”,“I’m not ready”.

You’ve thought these thoughts so often they seem true, they seem real. Yet they are only real when you allow them to be.

But how often have you stopped doing something? Or held back from saying something you really needed to say, and went along with the crowd? Or know that you need to make a decision and have let everyone else decide for you, rather than go with your heart?

How often have we quit before we’ve even begun?

Too often, I say!

When you step back in awareness you get to see these thoughts can be a passing thing, that they don’t have anything to do with the reality of who you are. Like a cloud in the sky cannot touch the essence of the sky, thoughts cannot touch the essence of you, the reality of you.

They only affect you when you believe the label to be true.

Do you see?

The key here is to start to see how you’re defining your life. Step back and detach in awareness and notice what happens if you just let this stuff pass through.

Notice how you’re stopping yourself from living the life you want to live, all because you believe a label, a thought, a filter that seems to be so real.

You define everything anyway, so define your life with awareness, define it with both eyes wide open.

This is the beauty of a meditation practice like the Bright Path Ishayas’ Ascension.

I grin big time when people tell me that they don’t want to meditate because “they’ll lose their edge”.

This is never a thing – you sharpen your edge, you never lose it. What you actually lose is the biggest handbrake of your entire life: “I am not enough”.

You ARE enough, and you don’t even need to prove it. You are. Beyond that label that says otherwise is the ideal you.

So have a look, see what’s behind that label. See the thought patterns, see how you create an identity less than what you truly are.

The great thing is you don’t need to change these thoughts, you simply need to shine a light on them.

They are options, not reality.

When you step outside of them, your whole life opens up. And how amazing is that?

Such a small piece of awareness, such a huge gain: for you, and everyone around you.