There has been some gnashing of teeth recently amongst the particle physics mob. They were sending neutrinos to each other through the earth (is that safe?) and they noticed that some of the little blighters appeared to be arriving before they should. They’re supposed to travel at the speed of light. And they’re arriving early. So they’re breaking the universal speed limit: the speed of light.
Let’s not get into how a neutrino can pass through the earth without hitting anything – that’s not what we’re here for. The neutrinos were going faster than the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). As if that isn’t fast enough. This is causing some great concern…
It got me thinking about the idea of a speed limit. No matter what you do. No matter what you know. You cannot break the speed limit. You are limited by the environment.
And it struck me. Unlike a neutrino, which doesn’t strike anything.
We all have a speed limit. Each of us has a limit to how fast we can go. It doesn’t matter what we know. It doesn’t matter how fast we expand what we know. It doesn’t matter what we do. It doesn’t matter how much we improve what we do (our productivity).
Let’s take a step back…we need to do three things to achieve stuff.
1. Get Knowledge
We need to know things that are relevant to what we are trying to do. Tools, skills, techniques. Whatever you want to call them. These things can be learned and mastered.
2. Take Action
We need to take the right kind of action for the right length of time. Call this time management or personal productivity.
Knowledge without action is useless. Action without knowledge is not as bad as useless because you might learn something in the effort, but it’s close to useless.
Here’s the thing – knowledge and action combined deliver to you the results you get in your life, capped by the speed limit. Your very own, personalised, speed limit. Everyone has one but they can vary.
Some people have a 10 mph speed limit. So they can know a lot and do a lot but they won’t get very far (usually because half of what they know and do isn’t helpful to them).
Some people have a 500 mph speed limit. They may not know everything but when they apply it they go for it and they just keep on going and going…they go far. Literally.
Our teachers teach us things. They give us the first part – knowledge. Knowledge is great. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is also great. I have lots of it. I know about neutrinos.
Our innate desire to achieve things plus, if we’re lucky, a good boss or coach will help us to deal with the second point – the need in this life to take huge amounts of action. All action is good, provided if, when it goes wrong, there is a way back to the pre-action position. There usually is. So all action is good. Because we get results. Results are information. Information is useful. It leads to new actions, new results and so it goes on.
But there is no institution, no school, no college that provides us with help to increase our speed limit.
Our speed limit is, of course, the state of our mind. Our mindset.
3. Master Your Mindset
Mastering our mindset is the third factor we need to achieve things.
The limit of our success will be determined by the weakest of the three factors – knowledge, action/productivity and mindset.
And the weakest link for most of us is mindset. It has to be mindset. We have spent decades working on our knowledge. So that’s OK. Our experience makes us more and more productive. So that’s OK (it isn’t actually, but let that go for today…)
But our mindset…
When was the last time you spent regular, focused time on your mindset? On raising your speed limit? Have you ever?
It’s a neglected topic.
Because you don’t need to work on your mindset to work in a cotton mill. But those days are over.
And, frankly, working on our mindset is not for everyone. It requires a level of self-awareness and humility that some people don’t have. They are lost in their own self-image.
For those who are not so afflicted, mindset is the key.
I plan on really focusing on this over the next few months.
Are you interested?