And then there's Egan Bernal, who yesterday became the winner of the 2019 Tour de France. Bernal is not just the first Colombian to win the Tour; At age 22, he's the youngest to win the Tour in over a century.
Yet less than one year ago, after a bad crash during the one-day Clasica San Sebastian, Bernal was lying in a hospital with a nasal fracture, damage to teeth in both jaws... and a brain bleed, a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can be life-threatening.
Months of reconstructive dental and facial surgery followed, as well as significant time to heal intracerebral bleeding.
Then he had to return to elite condition, which is incredibly difficult even for young athletes. Research shows found that key determinants of fitness like red blood cell count, maximum sustainable power output, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) massively decrease after five weeks of training cessation. (In short: Use it or lose it.)
You may think the odds are against you. You may think the world is against you.
You may even be right.
But even if you're exhausted, even if you think you're done... you can always find a little more in you. You are always capable of more than you think.
Granted, you may never want to reach an elite level of fitness like Bernal's. You may never want to regain the confidence to climb back on a bike after such a terrible crash.
But Bernal serves as a great reminder that most of our limits are self-imposed.
Instead, compare your present self, regardless of how far you have already come, to what is actually possible.
Don't look back. Look forward, to how far you can still go.
And then work hard to get there.
You may never be the Egan Bernal of your pursuit... but you will definitely achieve much more than your self-imposed limits led you to believe was possible.