A limit is defined as a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass. Yet, we are able to continually push these “limits” in our everyday lives. It seems a limit truly does not exist, only the perception of one does. How does an overwhelming limit play into the factor of the human bond? Let’s talk.
An overwhelming limit is defined as some type of work in an excessive or intolerable amount. An example could be a project at work, a large workout, someone trapped in a POW camp, and so on. It is shown that this limit is well beyond the scope of our everyday lives and almost always is a unique opportunity. It is something that does more than just our physical capabilities, it breaks us down on a mental level in which we see vulnerability come through again. Two examples I want to talk about are Crossfit and the military.
Simon Sinek talks about the military quite often in his leadership studies and has done extensive research into some of their practices. We can see that military branches often share extremely close bonds and even refer to each other as brother and sister. People in the military often run into complete strangers that were in the same position and even though they have never met, share an instant bond and level of respect for one another that normally take months, or even years to manifest. I think that this comes from not only the unique opportunity, but the overwhelming limit that is the preparation for our troops.
As I said before, we often measure things in terms of a scale with an exponential line, where we see acquisition of some type of measureable increase over the fixed asset of time. We can speed up that acquisition through the application of different variables. I am looking at how we build bonds with other humans and the two main variables that I am applying are unique opportunities, and what we are talking about today being overwhelming limits. In the military they have a huge amount of physical preparation from timed tests and strength requirements. This allows them to be ready for battle, but only as an individual. The tests they often don’t talk about are the ones that break you down as a team. They have an obstacle course that is designed to be completed as a group, and you can’t complete the challenges on your own. It forces you to grow closer and begin to trust one another as you face these large amounts of work knowing you can’t complete it by yourself. It creates an opportunity for people to break down beyond just the limits of their body, but show true vulnerability in breaking down the mind. This is why overwhelming limits plays such a significant factor, you become vulnerable to a state in which you know cannot go on, until another person in the same state comes and picks you up. This is why you see once unrelated and unknown groups of people leave training camps in the military calling each other brother and sister.
Crossfit is often described as a cult and often ridiculed for their training methods and unique terminology. Yet, if you have ever done Crossfit for an extended amount of time you see how close a “box” or gym are and how it is almost a family affair when you go to get your workout in. I was watching a documentary about the Crossfit games on Netflix the other night and I saw how these athletes were completely destroying their bodies in an attempt to be deemed the fittest man/woman on earth yet, even though they were competing individually they also were helping will their opponents across the finish line. I saw this every day at the box I used to go to. We all were faced with this enormous amount of work, and while some may have finished before others, none of us were done until we all had completed the workout. This means that the workout was no longer just for me, it was for all of us. We all had to help each finish the work before the time ran out. In this large amount of work it pushed our physical limits and often the mental limits of all individuals creating a chance for vulnerability. This is why when a stranger who Crossfits runs into another stranger who does as well, often will chat for an hour about their “Fran” time and their max reps and other “work” comparisons as if that person worked out with them every single day.
In these moments that unique opportunities and overwhelming limits create we see that reoccurring opportunity for vulnerability. This is the last piece to the puzzle. In our most vulnerable state we can find that the strongest bonds are made in the shortest amount of time and that those bonds have a very long lifespan. Next week to wrap up the three part series I want to talk more about the topic of truly being vulnerable.