The Benefits of Limitations

League of Wildness,

I believe that there can be benefits to having limitations.

I’m writing this precisely 8 days after I completely ruptured my pectoralis major tendon. The injury will require surgery followed by 4-6 months of rehabilitation.

For sure.

However - there is almost a sense of levity - as if some intangible burden has been lifted from my shoulders. One that I didn’t fully recognize was sitting so heavily upon me.


It was the burden of choice.


I’m fortunate to have pursued a life that has in general had a plentiful amount of choice.

If I’m being honest I will have to also admit that the copious amount of choice has actually caused some anxiety at times.

By choosing something you simultaneously destroy are the other possible options. I struggle to sometimes let the ‘good’ die when in doing so would actually let the great flourish.

I had grand plans for this summer that are now more or less impossible.

But that doesn’t mean I cannot still have a pretty freakin’ wild summer.

Instead of focusing on what I could do, should do, or ought to do - I’m trying to focus on what I can do.


And I’ll squeeze out every last drop.

When I reflect back to the times in my life where I was the least anxious it’s those periods where I had a singular focus and did not really have a choice except for relentless forward progress on the path I had chosen.

These times weren’t easy, comfortable, or even necessarily fun - but I did wake up every day with a very clear purpose which seems to have superseded everything else.

Now that life has gotten relatively ‘easier’ (although any parent may argue otherwise) I find myself essentially trying to replicate the struggle mentioned above. 

What I notice about the ‘times of struggle’ is I tended to spend more time in the present.

A few nights ago I was in the backyard playing with my two daughters and had a micro-moment of enlightenment. I noticed that for the first time in a very long time I was just in the moment.

No rumination.

No angst.

No future.

Just - now.

Maybe this injury is a gentle reminder of my own mortality. 

From what I’ve observed - this reminder tends to get people’s mind right as to what is most important. Or better - makes it crystal clear where they find the most meaning.

Could you actually improve your health and fitness by removing choices?

If you could not drive to work - could you ride your bike or walk?

If you don’t have a Netflix subscription - would you get more, better sleep?

If there isn’t a six-pack in the refrigerator - you can’t drink it.

No ice cream in the freezer means none in your stomach.

Don’t bring the stroller on a walk which means your only option is to apply your hard earned fitness by carrying your child.

If you deleted social media from your phone could you instead use that time to stretch, meditate, do yoga, or simply call a friend?

One important hazard to identify is the tendency for us humans to anchor onto the things which we cannot do and thus - take no action.

Obstacles show you a different way.

Can’t lift weights? Use resistance bands.

Walking to work would take 3 hours? Park a few miles from the office and walk the rest of the way.

Can’t run? Ruck.

Don’t have time? It’s there - just look harder.

Don’t know what to do? Send me an email.

Injured? Do what you can.

Don’t have time to cook? Prep a week’s worth of food on a Sunday.

Can’t stop ordering takeout at work? Brown-bag your lunch.

Hungry all the time? Eat more protein.

The way is there. I think we just don’t want to always see it.

I wish you the most benevolent of limitations,

-Wildman Dan

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