What Limits Your Growth? - Self-Mastery Exercise

What Limits Your Growth?

To uncover your biggest communication barrier you'll need a pen and paper.

I want you to tell me who you are by writing it all down. For best results, you need to do it before reading the rest. Include information about your age, gender, education, qualifications, occupation, likes, dislikes, hobbies, ambitions and your attitude towards challenges and adversities.

Take your time.

When completed, put that aside and continue with the article.

Humans Are Habitual Beings

You wake up and can dress with the eyes closed. You have your routines and you like to keep them in the unchanged order. You love patterns when it comes to everything because they make you feel safe.

But when something is out of place – oh, where did I leave my wallet? – you open your eyes feeling confused, anxious and irritated. Even if it’s only a minor mix of feelings lasting a split of the second. It’s there.

As a result, you switch your attention to solve this puzzle so everything can be as usual. And when you find your wallet, you take it as a reliever and the sense of gratitude spoils your brain. Even if it’s only a minor feeling lasting a split of a second. It’s there.

You Like Your Habits

You like your habits so much that any unexpected, unannounced or imposed change will seem a threat causing a minor distress. Remember what you felt when your partner left a cup on the very table you asked to keep clean? That is your territory and you're going to defend it.

It’s all funny until the changes are bigger than lost keys or misplaced cup. Imagine your boss saying that the project you’ve just spent 6 months with is going be withdrawn. Oops.

The case is the same with your personality which is 100% habitual creation. It includes your beliefs and ideas, moods and attitudes, and patterns of behaviour. All beautifully wrapped in the baggage with your name tag on it.

Now, when you’re confronted with differences of opinion you feel that your thoughts have to be protected from the influence of others. That’s due to your brain releasing a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine which triggers the defensive state.

This is the very same chemical that tries to keep you alive in dangerous situations.

In such state, our rational thinking capacities go dramatically down causing narrow-mindedness. Do you remember when someone got stubborn in a discussion, or maybe that happened to you?

communication barrier

It’s the time to look at your limits so please take a moment and read what you’ve written at the beginning. This is the description of your imprisonment, I mean, of who you are, of course. Do you want to protect it? Who would you be without it?

If you want to grow personally, you will need to stretch your limitations or abandon them completely. Like anything, it’s a process and for the best results, it requires the facilitator; coach or mentor. You can also do it yourself but the outcome is hugely dependant on the level of your awareness.

The point is to confront your opinions with a proper intellectual battering. Thus, giving special consideration to opposites may force a revision of your beliefs.


Whatever you identify with you begin to protect. And before you know it, the walls of protection you’ve built becomes the walls of imprisonment. This is the greatest communication barrier which essentially stops you from growing.

Martin May

Managing Director at Intelligent and Lazy Management Consulting. Coach, trainer, blogger. "How we say it is more important than what we say"

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