The Inchworm Approach Avoiding Limiting Intents

Updated July 15, 2004


There is a lot of confusion and disagreement about what limits people have, if any. Along with this there is a lot of confusion and disagreement about how to access the potential each person has. There is a way to find an accelerated path through the middle of all of this that leads to your full potential.


There are a few critical concerns that drive much of this confusion and disagreement.


It is true that the statements you make today influence what you can and can't do in the future.

An example is: I can (or can't) climb mountains.

This statement tends to program you that you can, or canít, climb mountains.


It is also true that making and implementing effective plans requires an honest and objective assessment of what you can deliver today.

An example is: Next weekend I could do 1,000 feet of elevation gain, but stand a fair chance of dying of a heart attack if I try 5,000 feet of elevation gain.

Now the person making this statement is likely to succeed with any hike they choose to do that takes into account this statement.


It is also true that making any negative statements cause some negative intent that must be reversed in the future to access additional potential.

An example is: I can't climb mountains 5,000 feet high.

Now that this has been said, no matter what the practical problems are, the person who said this will also be fighting themselves if they try to ascend a mountain 5,000 feet high. Worse yet, because a mental door is closed, they might not even see easy solutions to the practical problems blocking them.


To avoid creating limiting intents, some people believe it is essential to make unlimited statements:

An example is: I can climb mountains.

The problem with this is that now they are starting to confuse themselves and everybody else because they clearly can't do 8,000 feet of elevation gain, and might die in the attempt. So they either suffer from making bad choices, or get stalled on learning and growth because there isn't any perception of the growth steps between not climbing any mountains, and climbing the tallest ones.


So now the logic is vacillating between the extremes of absolutes. Most people are aware of the problems of saying "always" or "never". In fact any unqualified generalization has the same problem.

An example is: I can (or can't) climb mountains.

Actual reality, now, and for some time in the future, is likely to be in-between these two absolutes.


Yet being too specific can also cause limiting intents.

An example is: I can climb mountains 2,843 feet high.

This is a specific absolute statement, and on some level you start believing you can't climb mountains 2,900 feet high. This might be true today, but it might not have been true next month, except for the fact you now kind of believe you can't do it.


By combining true statements of belief about your potential, with positive true statements about the direction of your intents and growth, it is possible to avoid the pitfalls of limiting and confusing intents. Then the statements help encourage growth, and empower better decisions at the same time.


Here is a series of statements addressing these potentials, needs, and realities while encouraging fast growth.


This whole group of statements has some common threads:


This group of statements is very flexible. Next month the statements and intents can be incremented a bit as this person keeps growing and edging themselves closer to climbing really tall mountains.


What is going on here is a tactful acknowledgement of the difference in the long-term potential, and the potential to stretch their self in the short-term. This allows the focus and verbal statements to be pointed forwards, towards the ultimate goal, while focusing on what is true today, and can be true tomorrow Ė if they work hard and stretch their self. At this point, the facts, and the motivational affect of the intents, are all helping the person forwards towards steadily increasing the manifestation of their potential.


Each time a person stretches, then after some rest, they can stretch a bit further. This is how limited short-term potential can be shifted so long-term potential can be manifested in reality.


By skillfully using words, this growth can be accelerated while successfully avoiding the creation of any barriers that would limit them sometime in the future.


A lot of insight into these issues came to me on a day when things were going badly. They were going so badly the negative energy was becoming a problem in itself, and I was pretty unhappy. So I thought I would try some positive thinking exercises. As I worked with this a bit, I realized I wasn't being very loving to myself; in fact I was behaving in the opposite way. So I tried saying several times "I love myself".


While part of thought that was true, part of me also saw it as a lie, and I suddenly realized if I tried to make it stick at that moment, I would create problems further down the road when I had to deal with the effects of lying to myself. At the same time I realized I would have big problems right now if I started saying "yes, you sure hate yourself". That would really get me going backwards real fast.


So I stepped sideways and looked for the most positive things I could say right then that were actually true at that moment:


Can you feel the positive energy ramp up as you read this sequence of statements? With a little creativity, the sequence can be extended, and then repeated. This can start and accelerate a really positive spiral upwards from a pretty difficult starting point.


All of these statements contained a lot of goodwill for and towards myself. This in itself had a direct and positive effect on an emotional and energy level. The words tended to sway the prevailing opinion on an intellectual level too. Every once in a while I would try saying "I love myself" and feeling to see how true it felt and how much a lie it felt. As I worked with positive statements of fact and intent that were true right then, I could feel myself inching towards the point where I could say "I love myself" as a completely true statement.


Basically I just kept making the most positive statements I could think of that were completely true. Each time I did this; it stretched and shifted me a bit more in the desired direction. Because of using this approach, I never had to deal with limits caused by previous statements, or the fallout from confusing or false statements.


The concept is pretty simple, but it requires a delicate balance of tactfully acknowledging the truth while finding the most positive and motivating truthful statements you can find as aids to move, inch by inch, towards your true potentials.


As long as Roger Padvorac is credited as the writer, and as the original source, feel free to share this essay in any nonprofit context. For sharing this in any other context, contact Roger Padvorac for permission through the contact information provided on