Roycemore’s mission calls us to inspire each student to Think Without Limits. Limitless thinking is all about the thoughts and beliefs that one embraces. Individuals often fail to reach their potential because their own thinking holds them back. Ronald Reagan once said, “There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” Much of our lives are about the choices we make– what we choose to do, and what we choose not to do. Often what we choose not to do relates to narrow thinking about our ability to achieve. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, writes that we need to both “think bigger” and be “choosy about choosing.” She argues that one of the biggest reasons individuals do not realize their dreams is that they limit themselves by thinking too small and then make choices that are informed by a belief that they are not ______ enough [fill in the blank].
Sidney Poitier is a remarkable example of someone who did not allow his humble background to define him or hold him back. CBS Sunday morning offered a tribute to him in honor of his recent passing that highlighted what a combination of self-confidence and comfort with failure can lead to. Sidney was born in Miami three months premature in 1927 when his parents, who were farmers, were visiting to sell tomatoes. Uncertain that he would survive, Sidney’s father purchased a casket while his mother went to see a palm reader. “The lady took her hand and started speaking to my mother,” Sidney shared. “And she said, don’t worry about your son. He will survive. He will walk with kings.” The family returned to the Bahamas where Sidney grew up in good health, the youngest of seven children. When he turned 15, however, his parents were concerned that he was on a path to delinquency so they sent him to Miami to live with his brother. By the time he was 16, Sidney moved to New York City where he attempted to gain work as an actor even though he only had two years of schooling. While working as a dishwasher an elderly Jewish waiter noticed he was “reading” the paper and asked him to tell him what was new. Sidney admitted he couldn’t read, so the waiter spent several weeks helping him to learn. His inability to read didn’t hold him back. He embraced the challenge and took action. Sidney thought without limits when he auditioned for an American Negro Theatre production and continued to work on his craft while adjusting his Bahamian accent even though he was rejected by audiences early on. He didn’t quit.
Sidney, and others like him who think without limits seem to understand the keys to a no-limit mindset. In his blog, Addicted 2 Success, Chris Schenk, author and coach, identifies “10 Things You Need To Know to have a No Limits Mindset.”
- Rules are for the people who made them.
- The only thing holding you back is you.
- When you get knocked down, get right back up.
- Don’t let others define you.
- Don’t expect anything from anyone but yourself.
- Never quit on yourself.
- Keep things simple.
- When in doubt, take action.
- Planning and taking action will help you destroy your fears.
- Who has more heart than you? No one.
Sidney Poitier embraced all ten of these mindsets as he created a career for himself where he pursued work that he was passionate about, that gave his life meaning, and that made a difference. This man from humble beginnings influenced countless individuals around the globe who took inspiration from his trailblazing roles on screen and his diplomatic service as an ambassador. Every individual has that potential. And this is what we believe about every child at Roycemore, which is why inspiring students to think without limits is in our mission.