60. Limitation

The Lines

Bottom. [9] Sometimes a man comes up against what seems at the time to be insurmountable limitations. When this happens, it is important that the man recognize the situation and not try to go beyond what is possible. By staying within the limits set on his forward movement, he is able to consolidate his resources, sharpen his skills, and adequately plan his next move. Then, when the time is ripe, he will be in a position to take whatever further steps are indicated at that time. Careful planning is necessary for the accomplishment of great enterprises.

2. [9] When a man prepares for action, there comes a time when preparation is complete, obstacles are out of the way, and action is most appropriate. Before that time, he is not really ready. After that time, he has missed the opportunity. If worrying and fretting cause him to delay when the time is ripe, the result will be failure.

3. [6] The man who seeks only the pleasures of frivolous entertainment has no sense of limitations. He is looking for as much of those things as he can find to fill as many hours in the day as he has. Such a path is hardly the way to a fulfilling life, and invariably leads to a sense of emptiness and futility. And just as invariably, he will seek to blame others or circumstances for his fruitlessness. Only when he comes to realize that the vacuity of his life is his own doing, that the path he pursues cannot possibly provide a sense of fulfillment, will he be able to focus himself and his life upon a more productive path.

4. [6] If a man’s life is limited by artificial values that do not naturally suit him, he will get nowhere because all his energies are directed at maintaining the form while ignoring the substance. Limitations that lead to success exist for a purpose: they contribute directly to the achievement of the man’s goals and purposes, and in fact are necessary to accomplish the goals successfully. Other kinds of limitations that only help make life more complicated and add nothing of themselves detract from the goal and siphon off energy needed to achieve it.

5. [9] A man who seeks to establish limitations on others cannot exempt himself. In fact, he will be much more successful if he presents himself as a model for limited behavior. “Do as I say, not as I do” has little influence on others and instead earns their contempt, not their respect. But if the man adopts the limitations himself and can show how successfully they work, his words and example will exert tremendous influence. With such an approach, success will come to all who adopt the limitations.

Top. [6] All normal men aspire to some degree of personal liberty. For a youth, a reasonable level of liberty is seen as an entitlement as he approaches adulthood. If limitations are imposed that go too far in suppressing what is seen as a reasonable degree of personal liberty, the normal, healthy person will surely rebel. If he who imposes the limitations thinks that he, as an authority figure, has the right to impose any limitations he chooses, no matter how severe, then his actions can only lead to disaster, because they violate human nature and force a reaction in their object. There is one exception to this rule, however. There are occasions when the strictest limitations are needed in order to heal the body or the mind. If a person has lost control over his own behavior, if he is unable to do what he must or unable to resist what he must not, then it is necessary for him to submit himself to whatever limitations are required in order to rescue him from misfortune. These may indeed by unpleasant and even unbearable; but the difficulties that have engulfed him demand no less

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60. Limitation

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