Your “Breaking Point” Doesn’t Exist


One of my graduate students told this story: “The thing is, I am fine speaking in front of a small group of people, but then… there’s this breaking point. At a certain number of people, I just freeze and can’t do it. I want to know how to get over that.”

I replied, “Great!!! The first thing you need to admit to yourself is that there is no “breaking point.” You made it up.”

My student didn’t like this answer. Some others made uncomfortable faces. But many students got it – I watched it start to click.

“Breaking points” don’t exist. You can’t prove a “breaking point” in a court of law. There is no statistical public speaking “breaking point” that was developed after scientific research on speech apprehension.

There is no “breaking point.” You made it up.

That’s INTERESTING. It’s not bad news! You’re not a bad speaker. You are SO INTERESTING. You MADE UP A BREAKING POINT!!! Why?

food-3089952_960_720Because we all do. We make up limits for ourselves. That’s ok. It’s ok to think you have imaginary limits. If you develop a mindfulness practice (as I also teach my students), you can start to catch yourself making up stories and start to change them. It’s ok that you’re making up crazy stories! We all do!

Here’s what’s not ok:

Don’t argue your imaginary semantic limits with me. I have a BA, MA, and PhD in Communication Studies.

  • If you’re 60 years old, you’re not going to have a baby or win Miss Teen USA.
  • If you’re 90 years old, you’re not going to hike to the top of Mt. Everest.
  • If you’re 5 feet tall, you’re not going to play in the NBA. Probably.

I understand real, physical, legitimate limits. I’m just calling your bluff on the imaginary ones. NO DEAL.

I will never agree that you’re “just not good at public speaking.”

I’m not going to buy into your story that “job interviews are scary.”

If you were born poor, I still believe you can make millions of dollars.

You have limited yourself with your own beliefs. I have limited myself with my own beliefs. The truth is that SO MANY of your so-called limitations aren’t true. You are lying to yourself. SO INTERESTING, right? We are all so very interesting. It’s all ok.

handstand-670829_960_720I used to think I wasn’t a runner. I’ve now run three half marathons, one trail half marathon, and a full 26.2 mile marathon. I lied to myself.

I used to think I couldn’t ski. I’ve now skied most of the resorts in Utah. Called that bluff.

I used to think I was a fat, awkward nerd. I now think that I’ve got some nice curves and some good things going on. NO DEAL!!!

Hey, boo: Take off your limits. Stop arguing that you’re limited. Call your bluff. Tell the truth.

There is no “breaking point.” You made it up.

Beautiful, super smart reader!!! Guess what?: If you made up a scary story, you can also make up a better one – one where you are whoever you want to be.

How do you do that? Start today. Pay attention to the way you think and speak. Develop a mindfulness practice. Let all your monkey minded thoughts run around in your active brain. Brains are wild and active. Let all those thoughts be ok. Practice awareness of them. Then maybe, you can start to catch yourself when you lie. Maybe you think a new truth. You can change your story. You can change your life.

Loving you out there. Take off the limits. They don’t exist.


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