How to Find Your Breaking Point

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find the straw

You know the saying about the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s used when things add up to more than a person can take. It often refers to negative events stacking up; inevitably there’s one that pushes things beyond capacity— “the straw”.

It’s when you reach the tipping point and just cannot take it any more.

Things fall apart.

I recently read about how our breaking point is further away than we usually predict. A helpful measure of your capacity for hard things is to know that when you reach the moment when you feel like you can’t take it any more, you’re only 40% done.

So when you feel like you can’t run another mile, you may have a few miles left. Or when life falls apart and you think you can’t go on, you likely have a lot more to give.

Here’s what this means: when things get tough, there’s a time to stay the course and there’s a time to quit.

How do you know the difference?

It all goes back to your direction and identifying where the current path taking you.

If it’s toward a deeper expression of your work in the world, then it might be time to dig deep and find the next 60% of your capacity.

If it’s taking you somewhere else, then it might be time to consider why you’ve held on so long.

When will you reach the point that you decide to take the leap and do that thing that’s been calling you for far too long?

When will you say you’ve had enough of quieting that part of yourself that is begging to find an expression in the world?

When will you choose to take action in spite of the uncertainty and just try something?

When will you stand up, raise your hand, be seen, show up, and do that thing which you cannot not do?

I work hard to give reassurance. It matters to me that you stay the course and learn to have the grit you need to keep going. For goodness sakes, I made a print that says “Never Give Up”, to serve as a reminder to stay the course.

But we have to be specific about which course is worth staying and which you need to abandon ASAP.

We have to answer the question at some point: What will it take for you to take action? How much more can you take before you reach out, ask for help, invest in yourself, do some of the work that we’re asking you to do?

What will be your breaking point?

What’s the straw that will break the camel’s back?

Find it and pick it up. Some things need to be broken.

PS- I’m working on a tool to help you set your course for 2016. I can’t wait for you to see it!

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

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