Know Your Limits

This post was originally titled “Push Yourself,” but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to barf at that *motivational* string of words. But I did end up leaving the permalink up there, so there’s that, ha.

I remember seeing a clip of Louis C.K. where he talked with his fellow comedians about how he approached his comedy sets, and he said something striking. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais listened almost aghast, when he said that he started out his sets with his best bit! Louis was willing to put his best material out there within the first few minutes on the stage, thereby effectively getting rid of his crutch (a good backup bit), should the set ever take a dive. Crazy idea but it pushed his comedy to new heights … at least until a massive NYT story exposed and took him down.

If you ever listen to entrepreneur interviews, you’ll hear this theme over and over again. Take a risk. Go to the deep end. Push yourself. I’d like to propose supplementing it with “but know your limits.” There will come a point at which you’re bordering the edge of your limits — be it intellectually, emotionally, physically, etc. — and, if you go past it, you’ll be in oh-shit territory. It’s the equivalent of being a good student in class, not studying enough for an exam and then realizing that you’re in oh-shit territory halfway through the test. So, know your limits and hakuna matata.