Sylvain Beauregard was faced with having to exceed one of his limits, one that put him on top of the world!
Here is his story:
“To know your limits, you need to exceed them now and then.” I’ve encountered this quote a few years ago. Since then, it keeps ringing in my mind.
One of my hardest limit is my love/hate relationship with heights. I love to be on top of buildings and other observation vantage points, it yields a special angle for photography. At the same time, I am also afraid of heights when I’m more than 6 inches from the ground on something that is not bolted to the ground.
A few years ago while visiting Australia, I took a tour to visit an animal reserve and tropical forest in the mountains. To get back to the ocean shore, we could either ride the bus back or take an aerial cable car. I left the bus with the intention to just take a peak at the cabins and the view, then get back aboard the bus for a safe trip down. I got entangled in the crowd entering the building and before I knew it, I was past the turnovers. I waited a moment to look at the people board the 6-seating little cabins and watch them take flight. I waited for the crowd to grow thinner to get in a cabin with less people. I boarded with a young couple. I was sitting pretty tight, watching closely above the attachment to the cable, etc. The trip went well this far.
The first leg we just had completed was rather horizontal, not more than 50 ft above tree tops. The second leg was another story. It took us over the mountain, with a clear view over the ocean. I was scared, what if the cable would break, how would we get out of the cabin once we hit the ocean. Could this thing really support the weight? There was nowhere to go from here. It was too late to return to the starting point, the bus had already gone, this was my only way down! After a moment, I opened my eyes, we had cleared the mountain and were just hanging over thin air. I suddenly realized I had an amazing view over the ocean, it was breathtaking! I slowly reached for my camera and took a picture. It was spectacular! I couldn’t stop, I took more pictures from different angles, I no longer thought about the cables, as soon as I connected with the beauty of nature around, it was all I could focus on. From a distance, I noticed something special in the sky and after zooming in, I realized it was a plane in final approach for the local airport next to the ocean. I followed the Qantas plane with my camera and took a few shots then I realized I’m higher than that plane! I was probably around 1500 feet high. A mix of fear and exhilaration filled me and I was in awe. I was facing my fear of heights using a new transportation method, in a grandiose stage and I was higher than a flying plane nearby. How many people can say that?
Once I landed, I reached for a bench in the reception building and rested a bit to let all those emotions sink in. In memory of this amazing experience, I bought myself a baseball cap from the souvenir shop to commemorate the event.
Earlier this year, I visited London. Standing at the bottom of the London Eye, I was tangled between my fear of heights and my intense desire to try this unique attraction. I looked up wondering if I would step in. I was considering forfeiting my ticket bought in advance. Then I remembered my cable cabin trip in Australia and I deemed, if I not only survived, but, at the end enjoyed the experience, I would enjoy this one too. I stepped in the line, waiting for the next egg. Once aboard, I was a bit uncomfy at first but after a minute or so I was standing right against the glass wall filling my eyes with everything that London had to offer.
It’s true that if you never went over one of your limits, how can you know it’s there? Yes, you know you can’t walk for 100 km straight but can you do 10 km, 20 km, 50 km? Unless you do not try to test your limits, you will never know. Same goes for mental challenges. If you don’t test it, a personal limit is just a theory. It’s often something we place arbitrary to help us feel safe within a known environment. It’s like saying to our inner kid “Don’t go beyond the park at the end of the street”. You set this limit to make sure you stay in a known and safe environment. Your body would certainly be able to go way beyond that distance and back, without a problem.
Can you identify a limit you thought you had, but, after putting it to the test, realized your limit was much farther than you initially thought?
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